Spontaneous rupture of the spleen due to infectious mononucleosis.
Spontaneous splenic rupture is an extremely rare but life-threatening complication of infectious mononucleosis in young adults. Although splenectomy remains effective treatment, reports of successful nonoperative management have challenged the time-honored approach of emergent laparotomy. On retrospective analysis of our institutional experience with 8,116 patients who had this disease during a 40-year period, we found 5 substantiated cases of atraumatic splenic rupture due to infectious mononucleosis. Four additional cases of suspected splenic rupture were noted. All nine patients were hospitalized and treated (seven underwent splenectomy and two were treated with supportive measures only), and they remain alive and well. In patients with infectious mononucleosis suspected of having rupture of the spleen, a rapid but thorough assessment and prompt implementation of appropriate management should minimize the associated morbidity and mortality. On the basis of review of the medical literature and careful scrutiny of our own experience, we advocate emergent splenectomy for spontaneous splenic rupture in patients with infectious mononucleosis.
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