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Hypersplenism is an overactive spleen. The spleen is an organ found in the upper left side of your belly area. The spleen helps filter old and damaged cells from your bloodstream. If your spleen is overactive, it removes the blood cells too early and too quickly.

The spleen plays an important role in helping your body fight infections. Problems with the spleen can make you more likely to develop infections.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Hypersplenism can be caused by:


Symptoms include:

  • Enlarged spleen
  • Low level of one or more types of blood cells
  • Premature feeling of fullness after eating
  • Stomach pain on the left side


Ferri FF. Ferri’s Clinical Advisor 2007: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby; 2007:443.

Hoffman R, Benz Jr. EJ, Shattil SJ, et al., eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 4th ed. Philladelphia, Pa: Churchill Livingston; 2005:711-12.

Review Date: 1/24/2011
Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Palm Beach Cancer Institute, West Palm Beach, FL. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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