Effective treatment of Hodgkin's disease requires the determination of the extent of the disease. This usually involves staging laparotomy, which includes splenectomy and biopsies of the para-aortic lymph nodes, liver, and bone marrow. Absence of the spleen predisposes a person to fulminant septicemia from encapsulated bacteria, a risk even greater in patients undergoing treatment for Hodgkin's disease. For this reason, some investigators have suggested that spleens not be removed for diagnosis but, rather, that they be included within the fields of radiation, which would preserve normal splenic function. The authors present a case of fatal spontaneous pneumococcal sepsis in a patient with splenic atrophy; the sepsis occurred 12 years after successful treatment of Hodgkin's disease by total nodal and splenic irradiation. A retrospective study of patients treated for Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas indicated that atrophy and functional asplenia may be important sequela of splenic irradiation.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||3|
|Journal||New England Journal of Medicine|
|State||Published - 1980|
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