Ruptured Spleen


A ruptured spleen is an urgent medical condition that occurs when there is a break in the surface of the spleen. Located just beneath the rib cage on the left side, the spleen plays a crucial role in fighting infection and removing old blood cells from the bloodstream.

This condition is commonly caused by a strong impact to the abdomen, such as during sports accidents, physical altercations, or vehicular collisions. In individuals with an enlarged spleen, even a relatively mild trauma can lead to a rupture. If not promptly addressed, the internal bleeding resulting from a ruptured spleen can pose a severe risk to life.

Treatment for a ruptured spleen varies; some individuals may require immediate surgery, while others can recover with a few days of hospitalization.


Indicators and symptoms suggestive of a ruptured spleen comprise:

  • Pain in the left shoulder.
  • Blurring of vision.
  • Being pale.
  • Fainting.
  • Distress in the upper left abdomen.
  • Anxiety or being restless.
  • Sensitivity to touch in the upper left abdomen.
  • Feeling disoriented, faint, or lightheaded.

A ruptured spleen constitutes a medical emergency. If you experience signs and symptoms suggestive of a ruptured spleen following an injury, seek immediate emergency medical attention.


Causes of spleen rupture may include:

  • Damage to the body’s left side. A ruptured spleen commonly occurs due to a forceful impact to the left upper abdomen or the left lower chest, which can happen during sporting accidents, fistfights, or car crashes. The spleen may rupture shortly after the abdominal trauma, or in certain instances, it may occur days or even weeks following the injury.
  • Spleen enlargement. Enlargement of the spleen can result from the accumulation of blood cells within the organ. Various underlying issues can lead to an enlarged spleen, including conditions like mononucleosis, other infections, liver disease, and blood cancers.

Risk factors

An already enlarged spleen, whether from infection or another underlying condition, increases the likelihood of spleen rupture. Participating in contact sports involving chest impacts further raises this risk.