Mnemonic Monday: Can you Feel your Spleen? Felty Syndrome Mnemonics

By Molly Lewis

We’ve all done it- learn a physical exam maneuver, rush home, and check ourselves to make sure we don’t have some undiagnosed disease! (Come on, I know it’s not just me!).

Well, if you did happen to palpate an enlarged spleen, the differential diagnosis list is quite long. But, here are a couple of mnemonics to help you remember one possible cause of an oversized spleen!

Felty syndrome:

  • Triad of:
    • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
      • The typical Felty syndrome patient has had severe, RA factor positive rheumatoid arthritis for many years before developing Felty’s.
    • Splenomegaly
    • Neutropenia (low WBC count)
      • This is often asymptomatic, but may present with recurrent infections (for example, lots of sinus infections!)

Use this “story” mnemonic to think through the components of Felty Syndrome (yes, it may be cheesy, but that’ll just help you never forget it!):

Can you feel your spleen Felty Syndrome mnemonics
(Or, for the bare bones mnemonic, just remember the first line!).

  • The spleen is FELT in FELTy syndrome.
  • Why?
  • Because the spleen is holding a party for WBCs!
  • So, since so many WBCs are inside the spleen, there aren’t many left in the blood.
    • = neutropenia!

Another Felty syndrome mnemonic I’ve seen used (see below) includes anemia and thrombocytopenia. (While the mnemonic is helpful (since Felty syndrome patients may have anemia and low platelets) these two findings aren’t required to diagnose the syndrome).

Felty Syndrome: SANTA

Arthritis (rheumatoid)

Not sure how to officially diagnose Rheumatoid Arthritis? Stay tuned for my next post: an RA criteria mnemonic!

Have a mnemonic for RA, Felty syndrome, or anything else rheumatology related? Post it below or email it to me at– it may just become part of a post!

• Felty syndrome mnemonic #1: Internal Medicine Q&A- by Medicine Bursts – episode: Rheumatology Bursts #1
• Felty syndrome mnemonic #2:
• Felty syndrome info:
• Spleen photo:


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