Reversible functional asplenia in pediatric systemic lupus erythematosus

A. Kiboneka, N. Ilowite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two patients with reversible functional asplenia secondary to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) manifesting as pneumococcal bacteremia are presented. An 11-year-old girl with SLE presented with high fever, vomiting and knee pain. Subsequently she was found to have bacteremia with streptococcus pneumoniae. Howell-Jolly bodies were seen on a peripheral blood smear. A liver spleen scan after treatment was normal. She was treated with intravenous antibiotics with resolution of her symptoms. A 15-year-old girl developed left earache, headache, fever, neck pain, and cervical lymphadenopathy. She was found to have pneumococcal bacteremia and meningitis. Serologic studies confirmed a diagnosis of SLE. A liver spleen scan with sulphur colloid failed to visualize a functioning spleen. She was treated with intravenous antibiotics with good clinical response. Reversible functional asplenia is a manifestation of systemic lupus erythematosus which can lead to bacteremia especially with encapsulated organisms. The possible pathogenesis of this complication is reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-31
Number of pages3
JournalChildren's Hospital Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1994


  • bacteremia
  • functional asplenia
  • systemic lupus erythematosus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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