People with severe anemia may need blood transfusions. Removing the spleen (splenectomy) may help reduce the destruction of red blood cells. However, this does not help in all cases. In newborns with dangerous levels of jaundice, the health care provider may recommend an exchange transfusion.
Someone who had a splenectomy should receive the pneumococcal vaccine at recommended intervals. They also should receive preventive antibiotics until age 5.
The outcome varies. Some people have few or no symptoms. Others have severe symptoms. Treatment can usually make symptoms less severe.
Gallstones are a common problem. They are made of too much bilirubin, which is produced during hemolytic anemia. Severe pneumococcal disease is a possible complication after splenectomy.
See your health care provider if:
Segel GB. Enzymatic defects. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 463.
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