Partial splenectomy was carried out in four children with homozygous sickle cell disease and eight children with sickle cell beta thalassaemia. It was performed in order to preserve splenic contribution to the host defence against infections while suppressing hypersplenism or the risk of recurrence of acute splenic sequestration. Indications for this surgical operation were acute splenic sequestration (n = 1), hypersplenism (n = 5), and acute splenic sequestration and hypersplenism (n = 6). Surgery was uneventful in 11 patients. A significant reduction of blood requirements and a significant decrease of the number of hospitalisations/patient/year were observed after splenectomy. No recurrence of hypersplenism or acute splenic sequestration occurred and no severe infection was noticed during the follow up period after surgery (mean (SD) 4.2 (2.8) years; range 6 months-7 years). Mean haemoglobin concentration and leucocyte and platelet counts increased after surgery. The benefit of partial splenectomy compared with total splenectomy to treat acute splenic sequestration or hypersplenism in sickle cell disease is discussed.
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