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Functional Asplenism In Sickle cell disease

In many cases of benign hematologic disorders, functional asplenia is a result of persistent and recurring hyper sequestration of red blood cells RBCs leading to red blood cells entrapment. This red blood cell entrapment would then further lead to splenic enlargement and then later atrophy.

Functional asplenia also termed functional asplenism only occurs in sickle cell patients when the spleen is present in the body system but it is not functioning appropriately, such patients with this medical condition are treated as asplenic patients. 

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Photo Credit: Health Jade

In a medical condition of profound atrophy, it is termed to be autosplenectomy.  The spleen is the largest lymphoid organ in the body, which carries out certain crucial functions in the immune system. It is the responsibility of the spleen to produce and aid the maturation of immunoglobin M (IgM), B lymphocytes (B cells from white blood cells WBCs), and opsonins.

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Photo Credit: MedlinePlus

In addition to the function of the spleen in the body is the protection of the body of the host from infections caused by polysaccharide encapsulated bacteria; they include Streptococcus pneumonia, Hemophilus influenzae type B, Neisseria meningitides, Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Klebsiella, and group B Streptococci (SHiNE SKiS), it also acts as a primary reservoir for platelets, and as a filtration process of damaged or malformed red blood cells RBCs (erythrocytes), removing them from the circulatory system of the body. 

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Photo Credit: Health Jade

Also, the spleen performs the function of extramedullary hematopoiesis. When these functions are not being carried out within the body of sickle cell patients with the presence of a spleen, he or she is being diagnosed to have functional asplenia or functional asplenism. 

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Photo Credit: McMaster Pathophysiology

Functional asplenism is characterized by the loss of phagocytic activity while retaining splenic tissue, it is a medical condition described in a large variety of diseases like sickle cell disease and including many autoimmune diseases, celiac disease, beta-thalassemia, nephrotic syndrome, chronic graft versus host disease, and advanced human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. 

Content created and supplied by: Dr-Kikiope (via Opera News )

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