Fulminant, potentially life-threatening infection is a major long-term risk after splenectomy or in persons who are functionally hyposplenic as a result of various systemic conditions. Most of these infections are caused by encapsulated organisms such as pneumococci, Haemophilus influenzae and meningococci. A splenectomized patient is also more susceptible to infections with intraerythrocytic organisms such as Babesia microti and those that seldom affect healthy people, such as Capnocytophaga canimorsus. Most patients who have lost their spleens because of trauma are aware of their asplenic condition, but some older patients do not know that they are asplenic. Other patients may have functional hyposplenism secondary to a variety of systemic diseases ranging from celiac disease to hemoglobinopathies. The identification of Howell-Jolly bodies on peripheral blood film is an important clue to the diagnosis of asplenia or hyposplenia. Management of patients with these conditions includes a combination of immunization, antibiotic prophylaxis and patient education. With the increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant pneumococci, appropriate use of the pneumococcal vaccine has become especially important.