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Function of the Spleen – Hepatic Circulatory System (Nursing)

by Rhonda Lawes

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    00:00 So let's talk about the spleen. It's kind of an underrated organ. It doesn't get a lot of attention, but it does 3 really important things. It filters, it helps with fluids, and it fights.

    00:13 So take a look at where the spleen is. You just kind of like, right over there by the stomach.

    00:17 See it? So, you've got your esophagus coming down the middle of the body and that connects to the stomach, then you end up to the small intestine, but right to the right of the stomach on the screen, you see the spleen. Now you've got a splenic artery, youe've got splenic veins, so part of that system of the splenic vein drains into the portal vein to go back through the liver. So I wasn't kidding when I said the spleen is an underrated organ. First of all, it's the largest organ in the lymphatic system, so have that in mind we're talking about all that it can do. Now, predominantly its functions are filter and fighting, but let's talk about its immune functions first. They fall under both categories. It filters and it helps us fight. So, under the filter category, it acts as a filter for the blood as part of the immune system. So the spleen helps deal with things in your immune system by filtering the blood. Now it helps us by fighting certain bacteria that can cause pneumonia or meningitis. So, when we're thinking about this largest organ in the lymphatic system, we know that it filters the blood as part of the immune system, and it helps fight certain kinds of bacteria that can cause pneumonia and meningitis.

    01:33 Well, do you know anyone whose spleen has been removed? That would be a splenectomy.

    01:37 What happens to them? I mean does their immune system function? Yeah, it does. Because if we have to take a patient's spleen out, then the liver and other organs will kind of pick up the slack. Now, you'll still be able to have a functioning immune system, but it's not quite as strong as somebody who does have a spleen. So we help educate those patients to take extra precautions. Now that's how the spleen impacts the immune system. Now let's talk about a couple more filtering jobs it does. It can recycle old red blood cells. That's very helpful because red blood cells don't live forever and when they die, the spleen is part of the process that helps us recycle them. It also stores platelets and white blood cells. So when I need platelets, like I've got a cut and I need to have a clot or when I need white blood cells, that's part of the inflammatory response, the spleen is a storage space for those special cells. So how does the spleen and the liver work together? Well, take a look at that drawing. You see they're connected by the portal vein. Right? We've got the splenic vein. It meets up with the portal vein. It goes back up into the liver because all of the blood that passes through the intestine and spleen is delivered to the liver by the hepatic portal vein.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Function of the Spleen – Hepatic Circulatory System (Nursing) by Rhonda Lawes is from the course Liver Functions and Dysfunctions (Nursing).


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. The spleen filters blood as part of the immune system.
    2. The spleen is the largest organ in the lymphatic system.
    3. The spleen stores platelets and white blood cells.
    4. The spleen creates red blood cells.
    5. Having a spleen is necessary for life.

    Author of lecture Function of the Spleen – Hepatic Circulatory System (Nursing)

     Rhonda Lawes

    Rhonda Lawes


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