Spleen, is a spongy viscus, situated in the left side near the lower part of the stomach, under the ribs. This organ is supposed to be designed by Nature to prepare the blood for the secretion of bile in the liver. Its purpose, though inaccurately known, must be important to the animal economy ; as indigestion, and a variety of other complaints, have resulted from splenetic affections. - It deserves to be remarked, that the term Spleen is frequently used to denote a disorder, which is more strictly, by physicians, called hypochondriasis.
The principal diseases of the spleen are inflammations, obstructions, and indurations. In the first case, the causes and symptoms are similar to those described under inflammatory fever (volume iii. p. 12): at the same time, a tumor and pain are felt in the left side ; the latter increasing on pressure. - Chronic inflammations of the spleen, however, may also be consequent on diseases of the liver, such as the jaundice, piles, etc. The treatment will, therefore, chiefly consist in the application of the same remedies as are mentioned in the page above quoted ; but, where the patient is of a plethoric habit, or was previously subject to the piles, leeches applied to the anus have proved of great service. - Calomel and antimony, taken internally, under judicious management, have likewise been attended with good effects.
If the spleen be obstructed or indurated, a pain and tumor will also be felt on the left side, bearing downward like a weight; the patient finding it difficult to lie down on that side : the bowels are generally costive; and respiration is impeded. - The cure of this affection requires the same method as is recommended for obstructions and scirrhosity of the liver. - See