An autosplenectomy (from" 'auto-' "self," '-splen-' "spleen," '-ectomy' "removal) occurs when a
diseasedamages the spleento such an extent that it is non-functioning and so equivalent to the spleen having been surgically removed ( splenectomy) .
This may occur in
sickle-cell diseaseand spherocytosiswhen abnormal red blood cells repeatedly block off small blood vessels, causing infarctionof parts of the spleen.
Absence of effective splenic function (
asplenia) is associated with increased risks of overwhelming post splenectomy infection, especially by encapsulated organisms. Protocols involving vaccinationand prophylactic antibiotics can reduce these risks.
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