Chapter 15: The Spleen

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1

accessory spleen (splenunculus)

results from failure of fusion of separate splenic masses forming on the dorsal mesogastrium; most commonly found in the splenic hilum or along the splenic vessels or associated ligaments

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amyloidosis

a metabolic disorder marked by amyloid deposits in organs and tissue

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autoimmune hemolytic anemia

anemia caused by antibodies produced by the patient’s own immune system

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culling

process by which the spleen removes abnormal red blood cells as they pass through

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erythrocyte

red blood cell

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gastrosplenic ligament

one of the ligaments between the stomach and spleen that helps to hold the spleen in place

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Gaucher’s disease

one of the storage diseases in which fat and proteins are deposited abnormally in the body

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hematopoiesis

blood cell production

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hemoglobin

oxygen-binding protein found in red blood cells

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hemolytic anemia

anemia resulting from hemolysis of red blood cells

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hemosiderin

pigment released from the hemoglobin process

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Hodgkin’s disease

a malignant disease that involves lymphoid tissue

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infarction

an interruption in the blood supply to an area that may lead to necrosis of the area

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intraperitoneal

within the peritoneal cavity

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left hypochondrium

left upper quadrant of the abdomen that contains the left lobe of the liver, the spleen, and the stomach

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leukopenia

abnormal decrease in white blood corpuscles; may be drug induced

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lienorenal ligament

ligament between the spleen and kidney that helps support the greater curvature of the stomach

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lymph

an alkaline fluid found in the lymphatic vessels

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malpighian corpuscles

follicles in the white pulp of the spleen, containing many lymphocytes

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mononucleosis

an acute infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus that most commonly affects teenagers and young adults; symptoms include fever, sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes, abnormal lymphocysts, and hepatosplenomegaly

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non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

a malignant disease of lymphoid tissue seen with increased frequency in individuals older than 50 years of age

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phagocytosis

process by which the red pulp destroys the degenerating red blood cells

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phrenocolic ligament

one of the ligaments between the spleen and the splenic flexure of the colon

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pitting

process by which the spleen removes nuclei from blood cells without destroying the erythrocytes

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polycythemia

an excess of red blood cells

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polycythemia vera

chronic, life-shortening condition of unknown cause involving bone marrow elements; characterized by an increase in red blood cell mass and hemoglobin concentration

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polysplenia

condition in which more than one spleen is present

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red pulp

consists of reticular cells and fibers (cords of Billroth); surrounds the splenic sinuses

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reticuloendothelial

certain phagocytic cells (found in the liver and spleen) make up the reticuloendothelial system (RES); plays a role in the synthesis of blood proteins and hemopoiesis

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sickle cell anemia

inherited disorder transmitted as an autosomal recessive trait that causes an abnormality of the globin genes in hemoglobin

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sickle cell crisis

condition in sickle cell anemia in which the sickled cells interfere with oxygen transport, obstruct capillary blood flow, and cause fever and severe pain in the joints and abdomen

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spherocytosis

condition in which erythrocytes assume a spheroid shape; hereditary

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splenic agenesis

complete absence of the spleen

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splenic artery

branch of the celiac axis; tortuous course toward the spleen; serves as the superior border of the pancreas

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splenic hilum

located in the middle of the spleen; site where vessels and lymph nodes enter and exit the spleen

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splenic sinuses

long irregular channels lined by endothelial cells or flattened reticular cells

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splenic vein

leaves the splenic hilum, travels transversely through the upper abdomen to join with the superior mesenteric vein to form the main portal vein; serves as the posterior medial border of the pancreas

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splenomegaly

enlargement of the spleen

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thalassemia

group of hereditary anemias occurring in Asian and Mediterranean populations

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wandering spleen

spleen that has migrated from its normal location in the left upper quadrant

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white pulp

consists of lymphatic tissue and lymphatic follicles