Splenectomy and subsequent mortality in veterans of the 1939-45 war

Lancet. 1977 Jul 16;2(8029):127-9. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(77)90132-5.


A long-term follow-up of 740 American servicemen splenectomised because of trauma during the 1939-45 war showed a significant excess mortality from pneumonia and ischaemic heart-disease. Mortality from cirrhosis was also increased, but not significantly. The findings confirm that the risk of fatal infections is increased by asplenia; however, the risk of cancer was not increased, as it is in some other immunodeficiency states. Post-splenectomy thrombocytosis and hypercoagulability may account for the increased risk of fatal myocardial ischaemia in this group.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / mortality
  • Male
  • Military Medicine*
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pneumonia / mortality*
  • Spleen / injuries
  • Splenectomy*
  • United States
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Warfare*