THERE has been little agreement with respect to the incidence and severity of various infectious diseases following removal of the spleen.1-5 Most of the studies have been some type of retrospective review, with particular emphasis on a specific infection. Despite several conflicting reports, the consensus of opinion has been that splenectomy does predispose children to the development of certain bacterial infections, especially those due to the Pneumococcus and Meningococcus.
An impaired resistance to viral infections has never been seriously considered. Recent experience with several fatalities due to postsplenectomy hepatitis seemed to warrant a more detailed evaluation of splenic function in viral disease. Accordingly, the charts of all patients who had undergone splenectomy or who had been diagnosed as having viral hepatitis were reviewed at Grady Memorial Hospital for the period between Jan 1, 1948, and Dec 31, 1965.
During the 18 years, 382 patients underwent splenectomy for