In order to evaluate the interrelations of splenectomy, iron overload and cirrhosis, histologic specimens of liver and spleen were examined and correlated in 12 children with β-thalassemia major. All patients had received blood transfusions since infancy. Correlations seemed to exist between splenic hemosiderosis and splenic weight, and between the latter and the age at time of splenectomy. All liver samples showed varying hemosiderosis, not correlated with the number of transfusions or the children’s age. Irregular liver cirrhosis existed in three children, 7, 8, and 14 years after splenectomy. No cirrhosis existed in any of the children where the spleen was in situ. Splenectomy in children with thalassemia may carry the long-term risk of liver cirrhosis.

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