3. Anaemic infarct of the spleen and splenomegaly

Page created on September 7, 2018. Last updated on January 17, 2019 at 16:09

This preparation shows an anaemic infarction of the spleen. The spleen is also enlarged (splenomegaly).

This type of infarction is caused by a blockage of an artery, causing the parts of the spleen supplied by this artery to receive no blood and therefore die. This can be caused by (in order from most to least common):

  1. Embolization from the systemic circulation (as opposed to the pulmonary circulation). Most commonly from the heart.
  2. A thrombus which formed inside the artery.
  3. Vasculitis (rare).

The infarcted parts are greyish, dry and fragile, and are often dome or triangle-shaped.

The splenomegaly can come from infiltration by malignant hematological conditions, infection (especially mononucleosis),  right-sided heart failure, portal vein congestion and liver cirrhosis. When the spleen is enlarged, the arterial blood supply easily becomes insufficient to supply the whole spleen, which increases the risk of infarction.

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