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Splenic Sequestration and Sickle Cell Disease

Splenic sequestration occurs in people who have sickle cell disease when large numbers of sickled red blood cells become trapped in the spleen, causing it to suddenly enlarge. This condition is more common in infants and young children. It may follow a respiratory infection. Without emergency medical care, splenic sequestration can cause death in a matter of hours.

Splenic sequestration causes sudden and severe anemia, with symptoms of sudden weakness, pale lips, rapid breathing, excessive thirst, belly pain, and rapid heartbeat.

Recommended Related to Blood Disorders

Types of Blood Disorders

 Blood disorders can affect any of the three main components of blood: Red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the body's tissues White blood cells, which fight infections Platelets, which help blood to clot Blood disorders can also affect the liquid portion of blood, called plasma. Treatments and prognosis for blood diseases vary, depending on the blood condition and its severity.

Read the Types of Blood Disorders article > >

Parents of babies and young children with sickle cell disease are advised to monitor their children for spleen enlargement. The doctor can show the parent how to check for it. A suddenly enlarged spleen requires emergency medical care.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Martin Steinberg, MD - Hematology
Last Revised October 7, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 07, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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