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The Hazard of Infection Following Splenectomy in Children

William D. Erickson, MD; E. Omer Burgert Jr, MD; Hugh B. Lynn, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1968;116(1):1-12. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1968.02100020003001.
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IN 1952 King and Shumacker observed that of five infants who had splenectomy in the first six months of life all five later developed serious infections, three of them fatal.1 Subsequently, many other clinical series as well as many experimental observations appeared in the literature, all designed to demonstrate the role of the spleen in bodily defenses and the hazard of infection associated with the asplenic state. Reported morbidity rates in persons who have had splenectomy have varied from 5% in King and Shumacker's original series to zero in a few small series. Most authors have suggested a gross rate of infection of 5% to 8% following splenectomy, though how many infections have been attributed to splenectomy has depended largely on the judgment of the author. Most writers have recognized that at least some of the postsplenectomy infections were related to the primary disease or were operative complications. Still,


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