Wandering Spleen

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

Important
It is possible that the main title of the report Wandering Spleen is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Synonyms

  • Displaced Spleen
  • Drifting Spleen
  • Floating Spleen
  • Splenic Ptosis
  • Splenoptosis
  • Systopic Spleen
  • WS
  • Pelvic Spleen

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Congenital wandering spleen is a very rare, randomly distributed birth defect characterized by the absence or weakness of one or more of the ligaments that hold the spleen in its normal position in the upper left abdomen. The disorder is not genetic in origin. Instead of ligaments, the spleen is attached by a stalk-like tissue supplied with blood vessels (vascular pedicle). If the pedicle is twisted in the course of the movement of the spleen, the blood supply may be interrupted or blocked (ischemia) to the point of severe damage to the blood vessels (infarction). Because there is little or nothing to hold it in place the spleen "wanders" in the lower abdomen or pelvis where it may be mistaken for an unidentified abdominal mass.

The spleen is a small organ located in the upper left portion of the abdomen. The spleen removes or filters out unnecessary or foreign material, breaks down and eliminates worn out blood cells, and produces white blood cells, which aid the body in fighting infection.
Symptoms of wandering spleen are typically those associated with an abnormally large size of the spleen (splenomegaly) or the unusual position of the spleen in the abdomen. Enlargement is most often the result of twisting (torsion) of the splenic arteries and veins or, in some cases, the formation of a blood clot (infarct) in the spleen.

"Acquired" wandering spleen may occur during adulthood due to injuries or other underlying conditions that may weaken the ligaments that hold the spleen in its normal position (e.g., connective tissue disease or pregnancy).

Resources

March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
Tel: (914)997-4488
Fax: (914)997-4763
Tel: (888)663-4637
Email: Askus@marchofdimes.com
Internet: http://www.marchofdimes.com

NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Information Center
P.O. Box 30105
Bethesda, MD 20824-0105
Tel: (301)592-8573
Fax: (301)251-1223
Email: nhlbiinfo@rover.nhlbi.nih.gov

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223
Email: ordr@od.nih.gov
Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/Default.aspx

For a Complete Report

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc. ® (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be obtained for a small fee by visiting the NORD website. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational treatments (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, see http://www.rarediseases.org/search/rdblist.html

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