ROBERT AUSTRIAN, M.D.
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Two articles in this issue (1, 2) call attention to the diversity of conditions that can lead to reduced splenic function and to increased vulnerability to overwhelming bacterial infection. Since the report of King and Shumacker (3), the importance of splenic integrity to defense against bacteremia has been increasingly recognized. Both anatomic and functional asplenia may predispose to fulminant sepsis caused chiefly by capsulated bacteria, most often by pneumococci, meningococci, or Haemophilus influenzae. The clinical picture resembles frequently that of the Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome. Absence of the spleen may be congenital or the result of surgery for illness or following trauma.
AUSTRIAN R. Prevention of Fatal Bacterial Infection in Patients with Anatomic or Functional Asplenia. Ann Intern Med. ;96:117–119. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-96-1-117
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1982;96(1):117-119.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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