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Splenic infarction
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Splenic infarction

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Contributors: Benjamin L. Mazer MD, MBA
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A splenic infarction is an ischemic injury to the spleen. It most commonly presents with severe, sharp pain in the left upper quadrant. Radiation to the left shoulder may sometimes occur, called a Kehr sign. Leukocytosis and fever may also be present. Infarction may lead to rupture, which can cause life-threatening hemorrhage.

Splenic infarction is often caused by an embolus, vasculitis, hematologic malignancy or neoplasm, or sickle-cell disease. Patients with sickle-cell disease are most likely to develop chronic splenic micro-infarcts. By the age of 5, these micro-infarcts have usually left a patient with sickle-cell disease functionally asplenic.

Treatment is typically supportive, with pain control being the main goal. Resources for opioid prescribing guidelines, as well as nonopioid alternatives, can be found here.


D73.5 – Infarction of spleen

22996003 – Splenic Infarction

Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

Left upper quadrant pain:

Best Tests

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Drug Reaction Data

Below is a list of drugs with literature evidence indicating an adverse association with this diagnosis. The list is continually updated through ongoing research and new medication approvals. Click on Citations to sort by number of citations or click on Medication to sort the medications alphabetically.

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Last Updated: 11/09/2018
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Splenic infarction
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Splenic infarction : Chills, Fever, Flank pain, Vomiting, Pleuritic chest pain, Shoulder pain, Splenomegaly, LUQ pain
Imaging Studies image of Splenic infarction
T2 MRI image of splenic infarct with large subcapsular hematoma.
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