Splenic sequestration happens when a lot of sickled red blood cells become trapped in the spleen. The spleen can enlarge, get damaged, and not work as it should. When the spleen doesn't work well, a person is more likely to have serious, life-threatening infections with certain types of bacteria.
On the night of March 28, 1986, Howard Heit's car was struck in a head-on collision. He left the scene of the serious crash thinking how lucky he was that he hadn't been hurt. "And then four to six weeks later, I started noticing twitches in the muscles of my neck and upper back. These progressed to marked spasms of my neck, shoulders, and upper back," he recalls.
The pain never ceased. All day, every day it plagued him. It became difficult for him to walk -- and almost impossible for him to work...
If splenic sequestration happens suddenly, it can be a life-threatening emergency.
Who is affected by it?
This condition is more common in infants and young children who have sickle cell disease. It may follow a respiratory infection.
In older children and adults, the spleen often does not work because of years of damage from sickled cells.
What are the symptoms?
Splenic sequestration causes sudden and severe anemia, with symptoms of sudden weakness, pale lips, rapid breathing, excessive thirst, belly pain, and rapid heartbeat.
If you have a baby or young child who has sickle cell disease, you will check your child's spleen to see if it's larger than normal. Your child's doctor can show you how to check for it. A suddenly enlarged spleen requires emergency medical care.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
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