Increased splenic platelet sequestration can occur in various disorders that cause splenomegaly. although the thrombocytopenia in advanced cirrhosis is mostly due to reduced thrombopoietin production by the liver (and consequent reduced platelet production), platelets are sequestered in other forms of congestive splenomegaly.
The platelet count usually is > 30,000/μL unless the disorder causing splenomegaly also impairs platelet production (eg, in myelofibrosis with myeloid metaplasia). Sequestered platelets are released from the spleen by epinephrine and therefore may be available at a time of stress. Therefore, thrombocytopenia caused only by splenic sequestration rarely causes bleeding. In patients with normal hepatic function, splenectomy corrects the thrombocytopenia; but splenectomy is not indicated unless severe thrombocytopenia due to simultaneous marrow failure is present.
Last full review/revision October 2012 by David J. Kuter
Content last modified November 2013