What causes a ruptured spleen?

Because of the spleen's position in the abdomen, a severe blow to the stomach area can rupture the spleen, tearing its covering and the tissue inside and can be caused by car accidents, athletic mishaps, and beatings. When the spleen ruptures, a large volume of blood may pours out into the abdomen. The spleen's tough outer covering may contain the bleeding temporarily, but surgery is needed immediately to prevent life-threatening blood loss. A ruptured spleen makes the abdomen painful and tender. Blood in the abdomen acts as an irritant and causes pain; the abdominal muscles contract reflexively and feel rigid. If the blood leaks out gradually, no symptoms may occur until the body's blood supply is so depleted that blood pressure falls and not enough oxygen can reach the brain and heart. Symptoms of low blood pressure and lack of oxygen include light-headedness, blurred vision, confusion, and loss of consciousness (fainting).