Your child’s spleen was taken out because of injuries received in an accident. The following information describes what the loss of the spleen means.

There are many parts of the body that work to fight off infections caused by bacteria (germs). One of those body parts is the spleen. The spleen is an organ found in the abdomen (belly) on the left side near the lower ribs. The spleen acts as a blood filter to take out certain kinds of bacteria and helps to fight off infection.

The worst problem that can occur after a spleen is taken out is a very serious infection called sepsis. This does not happen often. Less than 1 person out of 100 who have had their spleen removed may get this very serious infection. If it is not treated quickly, it can cause death. No one knows who might get the infection or when, so it is important that you do the following for your child:

  1. Before your child leaves the hospital, make sure they have been given a vaccination (shot) that prevents an infection from bacteria called pneumococcus.
  2. Watch for early signs of an infection. These include nausea, vomiting, fever and weakness. If you see any of these symptoms in your child, tell your child’s doctor right away. You and/or your child will need to watch for these signs for the rest of their life.
  3. Have your child wear a special Medic Alert bracelet or necklace that in an emergency tells medical professionals that your child has had their spleen taken out.
  4. Try to keep your child from people who are sick with colds or flu. Talk to your child’s doctor if your child does become sick.

By following these simple rules, children can live a completely normal life after having their spleen removed. 

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team.