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Alternative Names Return to topHepatosplenomegaly; Enlarged liver; Liver enlargement
Definition Return to top
Hepatomegaly is swelling of the liver beyond its normal size.
If both the liver and spleen are enlarged, it is called hepatosplenomegaly.
See also: Splenomegaly
Considerations Return to top
The lower edge of the liver normally comes just to the lower edge of the ribs (costal margin) on the right side. The edge of the liver is normally thin and firm, and it cannot be felt with the finger tips below the edge of the ribs, except when you take a deep breath. It may be considered enlarged if a health care provider can feel it in this area.
Causes Return to top
The liver is involved in many bodily functions and is affected by a variety of conditions, many of which result in hepatomegaly.
Causes of hepatomegaly may include:
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
This condition is usually discovered by a health care provider. You may not be aware of the liver or spleen swelling.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit Return to top
The doctor will examine you and ask questions such as:
Tests to determine the cause of the hepatomegaly vary, depending on the suspected cause, but may include:
References Return to top
Bergasa MV. Approach to the patient with liver disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 149.Update Date: 5/2/2009 Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.