May 1978

Clinical Estimation of Liver Span in Infants and Children

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics (Drs Lawson and Grand), Harvard Medical School, the Health Sciences Computing Facility (Dr Neff), Harvard School of Public Health, and the Children's Hospital Medical Center (Drs Lawson, Grand, and Cohen), Boston. Dr Cohen is now at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.

Am J Dis Child. 1978;132(5):474-476. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1978.02120300034005

• The liver span in 350 infants and children was determined by percussion of the upper and lower borders in the midclavicular line. Mean liver span was found to be related to age curvilinearly and ranged from a minimum of 1.9 cm at 1 week of age to a maximum of 7.7 cm in males and 6.3 cm in females at 20 years of age. In children with normal growth patterns, age and sex were found to be the major factors influencing liver size. Though height and weight also correlated with liver span, these variables did not add substantially to the correlation using age and sex alone. The presence of minor systemic illnesses, eg, otitis and gastroenteritis, did not affect liver span. The expected normal values for liver span at different ages for male and female children have been established and provide the basis for comparison during routine physical examination.

(Am J Dis Child 132:474-476, 1978)