Isolated congenital asplenia: a French nationwide retrospective survey of 20 cases

J Pediatr. 2011 Jan;158(1):142-8, 148.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2010.07.027. Epub 2010 Sep 16.


Objective: To better describe the natural history, mode of inheritance, and the epidemiological and clinical features of isolated congenital asplenia, a rare and poorly understood primary immunodeficiency.

Study design: A French national retrospective survey was conducted in hospital pediatric departments. A definitive diagnosis of ICA was based on the presence of Howell-Jolly bodies, a lack of detectable spleen, and no detectable cardiovascular malformation.

Results: The study included 20 patients (12 males and 8 females) from 10 kindreds neither related to each other nor consanguineous. The diagnosis of ICA was certain in 13 cases (65%) and probable in 7 cases (35%). Ten index cases led to diagnosis of 10 additional cases in relatives. Five cases were sporadic and 15 were familial, suggesting autosomal dominant inheritance. Median age was 12 months at first infection (range, 2-516 months), 11 months at diagnosis of asplenia (range, 0-510 months), and 9.9 years at last follow-up (range, 0.7-52 years). Fifteen patients sustained 18 episodes of invasive bacterial infection, caused mainly by Streptococcus pneumoniae (61%). Outcomes were poor, with 9 patients (45%) dying from fulminant infection.

Conclusions: ICA is more common than was previously thought, with an autosomal dominant inheritance in at least some kindreds. Relatives of cases of ICA should be evaluated for ICA, as should children and young adults with invasive infection.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Congenital Abnormalities / diagnosis
  • Congenital Abnormalities / epidemiology
  • Congenital Abnormalities / genetics
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pedigree
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spleen / abnormalities*
  • Young Adult