The spleen plays an important role in controlling infection since it is very effective in removing nonopsonized bacteria and hence serves as an important filtering system, especially for organisms against which the individual has no immunity. Splenectomy is used less frequently in the therapy of CLL than in the past, but this procedure is still performed in patients with hypersplenism or very large spleens. Asplenic patients are especially susceptible to infections caused by the encapsulated bacteria, S. pneumoniae, H. influenzae, and Neisseria meningitidis. These infections may be fulminant, resulting in death even with appropriate therapy. These patients are also susceptible to babesiosis and infections caused by Capnocytophaga canimorus.
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