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June 1956

Splenectomy in Infancy and ChildhoodThe Question of Overwhelming Infection Following Operation

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, and the Children's Medical Center.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1956;91(6):566-569. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1956.02060020568007

The recent report by King and Shumacker,1 reviewing the incidence of infections after splenectomy, suggests that this common operation is likely to be followed by meningitis or sepsis when performed in early infancy. Their series comprised approximately 100 cases, but the age limits were not stated. Of five infants splenectomized under 6 months of age, four contracted meningitis (two meningococcal, one Hemophilus influenzae, and one of undetermined type) from 5 to 31 months following splenectomy, while the fifth died of an illness strongly suggesting septicemia 1 month after splenectomy. These authors were able to find one similar case in a careful review of the literature, although they refer to a communication from Dr. Colin Ferguson to the effect that nine infants splenectomized at the Children's Medical Center under 6 months of age were alive and well one to six years later and that one child with a splenectomy at

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