St. Luke's Hospital
Located in Chesterfield, MO
Main Number: 314-434-1500
Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia



    Hepatosplenomegaly; Enlarged liver; Liver enlargement

    Hepatomegaly is swelling of the liver beyond its normal size.

    If both the liver and spleen are enlarged, it is called hepatosplenomegaly.


    The lower edge of the liver normally comes just to the lower edge of the ribs on the right side. The edge of the liver is normally thin and firm. It cannot be felt with the fingertips below the edge of the ribs, except when you take a deep breath. It may be enlarged if a health care provider can feel it in this area.


    The liver is involved in many of the body's functions. It is affected by many conditions that can cause hepatomegaly, including:

    • Alcohol use
    • Cancer metastases (spread of cancer to the liver)
    • Congestive heart failure
    • Glycogen storage disease
    • Hepatitis A
    • Hepatitis B
    • Hepatitis C
    • Hepatocellular carcinoma
    • Hereditary fructose intolerance
    • Infectious mononucleosis
    • Leukemia
    • Niemann-Pick disease
    • Primary biliary cirrhosis
    • Reye syndrome
    • Sarcoidosis
    • Sclerosing cholangitis
    • Steatosis (fat in the liver from metabolic problems such as diabetes, obesity, and high triglycerides, also called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH)

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    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

    The doctor will examine you and ask questions such as:

    • Did you notice a fullness or lump in the abdomen?
    • What other symptoms do you have?
    • Is there any abdominal pain?
    • Is there any yellowing of the skin (jaundice)?
    • Is there any vomiting?
    • Is there any unusual-colored or pale-colored stools?
    • Have you had a fever?
    • What medications are you taking?
    • How much alcohol do you drink?

    Tests to determine the cause of hepatomegaly vary, depending on the suspected cause, but may include:

    • Abdominal x-ray
    • Abdominal ultrasound (may be done to confirm the condition if the doctor thinks your liver feels enlarged during a physical exam)
    • CT scan of the abdomen
    • Liver function tests, including blood clotting tests
    • MRI scan of the abdomen


    Martin P. Approach to the patient with liver disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 148.


    • Liver fattening, CT scan


    • Liver with disproportion...


    • Hepatomegaly


      • Liver fattening, CT scan


      • Liver with disproportion...


      • Hepatomegaly


      Review Date: 4/24/2013

      Reviewed 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 A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

      The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

      A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.

      Back  |  Top
      About Us
      Contact Us
      Locations & Directions
      Quality Reports
      Annual Reports
      Honors & Awards
      Community Health Needs

      Brain & Spine
      Sleep Medicine
      Urgent Care
      Women's Services
      All Services
      Patients & Visitors
      Locations & Directions
      Find a Physician
      Tour St. Luke's
      Patient & Visitor Information
      Contact Us
      Payment Options
      Financial Assistance
      Send a Card
      Mammogram Appointments
      Health Tools
      My Personal Health
      Spirit of Women
      Health Information & Tools
      Clinical Trials
      Employer Programs -
      Passport to Wellness

      Classes & Events
      Classes & Events
      Spirit of Women
      Donate & Volunteer
      Giving Opportunities
      Physicians & Employees
      For Physicians
      Remote Access
      Medical Residency Information
      Pharmacy Residency Information
      Physician CPOE Training
      St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
      Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Notice of Privacy Practices PDF  |  Patient Rights PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile