Defective splenic function and its relation to bowel disease

G. R. Corazza, G. Gasbarrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Impaired splenic function complicates a number of bowel diseases. In some of these conditions, hyposplenism has only been reported sporadically and, therefore, systematic studies are required in order to clarify the true incidence of the phenomenon. Acquired asplenia is probably linked, by immunological factors, to bowel lesions, although the mechanisms responsible are still unknown. In any case, the evidence exists, at least in coeliac diseas and ulcerative colitis, that impaired splenic function leads to abnormalities in immune response which make these patients susceptible to serious infections. It is important for gastroenterologists to be aware that patients should be screened for hyposplenism and that hyposplenic patients be advised that any infection should be promptly treated. In special circumstances, such as serious malnutrition and surgery, prophylactic chemotherapy or pneumococcal vaccine is advisable. In patients with ulcerative colitis and signs of hyposplenism requiring surgery, heparin should be used as a prophylactic measure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-669
Number of pages19
JournalClinics in Gastroenterology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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