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February 1963

Splenectomy and Immunity

Author Affiliations

Markle Scholar in Medical Sciences. Presently Chairman, Department of Pediatrics, Memorial Hospital, New York.; William G. Thurman, M.D., 444 E. 68th St., New York 21.; From the Department of Pediatrics and Division of Hematology, Tulane University School of Medicine, and Charity Hospital of Louisiana at New Orleans, and the Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta.

Am J Dis Child. 1963;105(2):138-145. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1963.02080040140003

The role of the spleen in antibody formation and its relationship to the immune status of the individual remains in question. Prior to 1952 it had been felt that there was no inherent danger in removing the spleen, either because of surgical necessity due to trauma or as a means of affecting a clinical cure in various hematologic diseases that are known to respond to this as therapy; at that time, however, King and Schumacher1 called to attention the possibility of increased susceptibility following splenectomy, particularly in young infants. Subsequent authors have further documented this increased susceptibility, but the majority of these patients were individuals that had severe medical illnesses necessitating removal of the spleen; Laski and MacMillan 2 and others have shown that the incidence of infection in children having splenectomy for traumatic reasons is not appreciably increased when compared to children having had appendectomy or other surgical

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