What is Banti’s Syndrome?
The spleen is the large, gland-like organ in the upper left side of the abdomen which produces red blood cells before birth, removes and destroys aged red blood cells in newborns, and plays a vital role in fighting infection. Banti’s syndrome is a chronic congestive enlargement of the spleen which leads to premature destruction of the red blood cells by the spleen. It is named after the Italian pathologist and physician Guido Banti.
Banti’s syndrome affects both males and females equally. Banti’s syndrome commonly occurs in parts of Japan and India, but rarely in Western countries. The regional difference in incidence of Banti’s syndrome is due to the presence of increased arsenic levels in the drinking water in certain countries.
What Causes Banti’s Syndrome?
Banti’s syndrome occurs due to different factors, which cause obstruction and hypertension in certain splenic, hepatic or portal veins. Some such factors are congenital abnormalities of these veins, blood clots, or certain underlying disorders which trigger inflammation and obstruction of veins of the liver. Banti’s syndrome has also been associated with increased intake of arsenic. Patients taking long-term azathioprine, especially post-kidney transplantation, tend to get Banti’s syndrome.
What are the Symptoms of Banti’s Syndrome?
Basically, Banti’s syndrome or Banti’s disease is a health condition in which the spleen rapidly and prematurely destructs red blood cells. In early stages of Banti’s syndrome, the primary symptom experienced by patients is splenomegaly, i.e. abnormal enlargement of the spleen. Other symptoms of Banti’s syndrome are fatigue, weakness, jaundice, abnormal accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity, ascites, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, hemorrhage in the gastrointestinal tract, and anemia. In the later stages of Banti’s syndrome, the anemia progresses and aggravates in severity. This aggravation of anemia occurs due to bleeding in the esophagus, which in turn causes vomiting of blood and dark coloured stools composed of decayed blood. Further, in some cases of Banti’s syndrome, the liver also gets enlarged and subdivided by fibrous tissue causing liver cirrhosis. Patients suffering from Banti’s syndrome tend to bruise easily, have fever for longer durations, and are more likely to contract bacterial infections.
Which Diseases are Similar to Banti’s Syndrome?
Certain other diseases are characterized by symptoms similar to those of Banti’s syndrome. Comparisons prove useful for a differential diagnosis. Some such disorders are primary biliary cirrhosis, Gaucher disease, and Felty’s syndrome. Primary biliary cirrhosis is a chronic and progressive liver disorder which mainly impacts women. It becomes more evident during middle age. Gaucher disease is an unusual inherent metabolic disorder which is characterized by a deficiency of the glucocerebrosidase enzyme that triggers the accumulation of dangerous quantities of certain lipids throughout the body, especially in the spleen, bone marrow and liver. Felty’s syndrome is a rare kind of rheumatoid arthritis which is characterized by stiff, painful and swollen joints.
How is Banti’s Syndrome Diagnosed & Treated?
Banti’s syndrome can be diagnosed with the help of clinical analysis. Specialized tests, such as MRI and splenic venography also need to be conducted to confirm the diagnosis of Banti’s syndrome.
The treatment of Banti’s syndrome depends upon its cause. In cases where Banti’s syndrome is caused by azathioprine or arsenic, the patient’s exposure to these factors would need to be stopped immediately. The main issues in Banti’s syndrome are bleeding from esophagus and varices, i.e. dilated gastric blood vessels. Active bleeding in Banti’s syndrome can be treated effectively with vasoconstrictor drugs or through other methods used to treat portal hypertension. In case of recurrent bleeding in Banti’s syndrome, the doctor may choose to reroute the blood flow with a surgical shunt.
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