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Joazlina ZY, Wastie ML, Ariffin N
Correspondence: Dr Joazlina Zaleha Yusof, email@example.com
Introduction There is an awareness of the increased incidence of splenic abscess in Southeast Asia giving rise to unexplained fever. This study looks at the role of computed tomography (CT) in evaluating focal splenic lesions in patients presenting with fever.
Methods 37 patients presenting with fever of unknown origin underwent CT and this study retrospectively analyses the findings in these patients. 13 patients also had associated abdominal pain. Patients with conditions at high risk for splenic infection include: diabetes mellitus in ten patients, leukaemia in seven patients, human immunodeficiency virus infection in five patients, intravenous drug abuse in six patients, and steroid therapy in two patients. No risk factors could be identified in seven patients.
Results Splenic abscess was diagnosed in 28 patients. A range of infecting organisms was isolated but the most frequent were Staphylococcus aureus (eight), tuberculosis (four), Streptococcus (four), fungal (four) and melioidosis (four). No infecting organism could be identified in ten cases though in patients with leukaemia with multiple low attenuation areas, the cause was presumed to be fungal. Six patients were diagnosed to have splenic infarcts though differentiation from splenic abscess could be difficult; these patients were treated for an abscess and all had endocarditis. Three patients were subsequently diagnosed with lymphoma. Percutaneous abscess drainage was performed in five patients and splenectomy was carried out in six patients.
Conclusion CT proved to be very useful as it not only revealed the size and extent of any splenic abnormality but it assisted with guidance for percutaneous drainage, determined the site for biopsy, and provided follow-up after treatment.
Keywords: computed tomography, pyrexia of unknown origin, spleen, splenic abscess, splenic infarct
Singapore Med J 2006; 47(1): 37-41