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January 1952


AMA Arch Intern Med. 1952;89(1):82-89. doi:10.1001/archinte.1952.00240010092008

WITH THE increased interest in hemolytic diseases, a large variety of disturbance in the circulating blood due to splenic dysfunction has been described. In the widest sense they result in cytopenias of various kinds associated with excessive blood cell destruction. The actual mechanism of destruction of red blood corpuscles is obscure, but the spleen seems to be involved in most instances. This mysterious organ of Galen is apparently not essential to life and health. Its relationship to the hemopoietic system has been noted from the changes in the blood following removal of the normal spleen1: Target cells, Howell-Jolly bodies, hypotonic fragility, leucocytosis, and diminished red cell destruction were found. The effects of the removal of the normal spleen are transitory and apparently harmless, whereas the pathological spleen in some cases may constitute a hazard to health and a danger to life unless it is removed.

The pathophysiology of the spleen