Splenic rupture from babesiosis, an emerging concern? A systematic review of current literature

Shuo Li, Bobby Goyal, Joseph D.Cooper, Ahmed Abdelbaki, Nishant Gupta, Yogesh Kumara

Babesiosis is a relatively common tick-borne parasitic infection of erythrocytes primarily affecting the northeastern United States. Babesiosis’ prevalence and presentation have earned it the monikers “malaria of the northeast” and “Nantucket fever”. Clinical presentation ranges from asymptomatic infection to severe infection including acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (DIC) or death. Since 2008, there have been a number of reports of splenic rupture in patients with the disease. We seek to provide a further understanding of this process, with the report of a case of splenic rupture followed by a systematic review of the current literature. We found that 87% of splenic rupture secondary to babesiosis occurred in male patients who are otherwise healthy, with an average of 56 years. Computed tomography is a reliable mode of diagnosis, and hemoperitoneum is the most common imaging finding. Patients with splenic rupture due to human babesiosis were successfully treated by various management strategies, such as conservative non-operative approach, splenic artery embolization, and splenectomy. The modality of treatment depends on patient’s clinical course and hemodynamic stability, although spleen conserving strategy should be considered first whenever possible.


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