Overwhelming post-splenectomy infection overview

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Overwhelming post-splenectomy infection is a rapidly fatal septicemia infection due to the absence of spleen protection against certain bacteria (asplenia). Patients with absent (eg splenectomy) or non-functional spleens can die of these uncommon infections in a few hours.

Epidemiology and Demographics

The risk of contracting an OPSI for such patients is 0.23-0.42% per year, with a lifetime risk of 5%, and an associated mortality of 38-69%.[1]


Primary Prevention

Prevention with vaccinations and antibiotics can largely prevent OPSI.[2][3]


  1. Davidson R, Wall R (2001). "Prevention and management of infections in patients without a spleen". Clin Microbiol Infect. 7 (12): 657–60. PMID 11843905.
  2. "Guidelines for the prevention and treatment of infection in patients with an absent or dysfunctional spleen. Working Party of the British Committee for Standards in Haematology Clinical Haematology Task Force". BMJ. 312 (7028): 430–4. 1996. PMID 8601117.
  3. J M Davies; et al. (2001-06-02). "The Prevention And Treatment Of Infection In Patients With An Absent Or Dysfunctional Spleen - British Committee for Standards in Haematology Guideline up-date". BMJ.

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