Splenomegaly and Infectious Mononucleosis

In light of recent tragedy, with heavy heart and great respect for grieving family and friends of the young athlete that recently passed away from spleen rupture, I would like to review the  most common medical condition that may cause splenomegaly (enlarged spleen), where premature resumption of sports can be life-threatening.

r7_rupturedspleen

In order to understand why spleen gets enlarged, it would be beneficial to review many different functions of spleen. Imagine spleen as yin and yang.  Yang, the white part, represent “white pulp”of the spleen.   It is made of lymphatic tissue.  Spleen is one of many immunological centers in our body where antibodies get formed in response to various antigens (e.g.viruses, bacteria,yeast, etc).  Yin, the dark part, represents “red pulp” of the spleen.  As the name implies, it is a very vascular part of the spleen.  Its function is to destroy any cells that are abnormal.  Spleen also acts as a reservoir for platelets.  As a result of these many functional components within the spleen, the etiology of splenomegaly may relate to an increase in a normal splenic process (e.g., hemolysis) or may be due to infiltrative, infectious, or vascular disorders.

In this post, I am only going to be concentrating on a tip of the iceberg – Infectious Mononucleosis (also known as Glandular fever, Kissing disease, Mono or Mononucleosis).  Continue reading “Splenomegaly and Infectious Mononucleosis”

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