Sorry about that. OH says it in a way that makes sense to me, "spleen gets enlarged from cirrhosis which can be caused by hep C."
The thing is this link says, "An enlarged spleen measures about 12 to 20 cm (4.5 to 8 inches) in any dimension while a spleen greater than 20 cm (8 inches) is considered severe enlargement."
What are the causes of an enlarged spleen?
The spleen enlarges if it is asked to do excessive work in filtering or manufacturing blood cells, if there is abnormal blood flow to it, or if it is invaded with abnormal cells or deposits.
Abnormal red blood cells - Sickle cell disease, thalassemia, and spherocytosis are examples of diseases . . .
Viral and bacterial infection - infectious mononucleosis (caused by the Epstein Barr virus), AIDS and viral hepatitis. Examples of bacterial infections associated with splenomegaly include tuberculosis, malaria, and anaplasmosis (formerly known as ehrlichiosis).
Splenic vein pressure/blockage - cirrhosis and portal vein obstruction can cause complications with venous blood flow from the spleen. Congestive heart failure
Cancers: Leukemias and both Hodgkins and non-Hodgkins lymphoma can cause the spleen to enlarge, as can a variety of other tumors including melanomas.
Metabolic disease - Niemann-Pick disease, Gaucher's disease, and Hurler syndrome.
My hubby was just diagnosed right before Christmas with acute HCV. His poor body has been in a roller coaster since then. He just got out of the hospital after 4 days and one of the things that they did discover was that his spleen is definitely enlarged. I'm not sure to what degree, but it has also played a role in his complete blood counts being really low as well. This enlargement happened sometime within the last 2 weeks at the most as the previous cat scan didn't show any enlargement.
The portal vein supplies the majority of blood to the liver. That blood comes from the GI tract and the spleen.
When scar tissue in the liver (cirrhosis) interferes with that blood flow (some patient with stage 3 can begin to have spleen enlargement (splenomegaly)--- pressure can build in the portal vein ("portal hypertension"). Portal Hypertension can cause the spleen to enlarge and varices to form in the GI tract.
---> As the spleen enlarges-- platelets are trapped in the spleen. (The platelet count in the bloodstream falls.) (Platelets help our blood to clot. So as the platelet count falls... bleeding time is increased.)
A normal spleen weighs 150 g and is approximately 11 cm in craniocaudal length. Spleens weighing 400-500 g indicate splenomegaly, and some authors consider spleens weighing more than 1000 g to indicate massive splenomegaly. Spleens that are prominent below the costal margin typically weigh 750-1000 g. Poulin et al defined splenomegaly as moderate if the largest dimension is 11-20 cm, and severe if the largest dimension is greater than 20 cm.
During treatment my spleen measured 13.4 and 13.7 on ultrasounds and a cat scan. On the ultrasound I had after tx (SVR) my spleen was 11 and that was the smallest I have seen on recent ultrasounds. I have some information at home on the spleen size and will try to look for it and post it this weekend.
I have had cirrhosis and portal hypertension since 2007.
My spleen was 15.2 cm a year ago.
Splenomegaly is defined as 11-20 cm.
Elastography (stiffness of liver), Spleen Size, and Platelet Count Identify Portal Hypertension in Patients With Compensated Cirrhosis. So liver stiffness (when the liver hardens due to scarring, the size of the spleen and the platelet count will determine how much portal hypertension a patient will have. For example it will predict varices.
Of course there are many conditions and diseases that can cause splenomegaly also.
The spleen acts as a repository for injured red blood cells and helps filter foreign substances from the blood. Doctors say the spleen can provide indirect evidence of liver function. An enlarged spleen could indicate vrial disease. (1/3 of hep C patients have an enlarged spleen). In a cirrhotic person, the spleen can store platelets that the damaged liver can no longer process.
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