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Splenic peliosis with spontaneous splenic rupture: report of two cases

Daniel J Lashbrook1*, Roger W James2, Andrea J Phillips3, Anthony G Holbrook1 and Andrew C Agombar1

Author affiliations

1 Department of General Surgery, Royal United Hospital, Combe Park, Bath, UK

2 Department of Cellular Pathology, Royal United Hospital, Combe Park, Bath, UK

3 Department of Radiology, Royal United Hospital, Combe Park, Bath, UK

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Citation and License

BMC Surgery 2006, 6:9  doi:10.1186/1471-2482-6-9

Published: 26 June 2006



Peliosis is a rare condition characterised by multiple cyst-like, blood-filled cavities within the parenchyma of solid organs. Most commonly affecting the liver, isolated splenic peliosis is an even more unique phenomenon. Patients with the condition are often asymptomatic. However, this potentially lethal condition can present with spontaneous organ rupture. We present two such cases, discuss their management and review what is currently known in the existing literature.

Case presentation

A previously well twenty-six year old woman presented with abdominal pain following a trivial episode of coughing. A diagnosis of spontaneous splenic rupture was made following clinical and radiological examination. She underwent emergency splenectomy and made a full, uneventful recovery. Histopathological examination confirmed splenic peliosis.

The second case describes an eighty six year old lady who sustained a trivial fall and developed pain in her left side. A CT confirmed splenic rupture. She became haemodynamically unstable during her admission and underwent emergency splenectomy. Histopathological examination revealed splenic peliosis. She went on to make an uneventful recovery.


Splenic peliosis is very rare. It has a number of associations including immunosuppression, drug therapy and infection. Although patients are often asymptomatic, life-threatening spontaneous organ rupture may occur. If the diagnosis of peliosis is confirmed, additional investigations should be considered to detect its presence in other organs. Furthermore, the presence of the condition may be relevant if further medical or surgical intervention is planned.