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.
So take a look at where the spleen is. You just kind of like, right over there by the stomach.
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.
Well, do you know anyone whose spleen has been removed? That would be a splenectomy.
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.