Spleen size evaluation in children: Time to define splenomegaly for pediatric surgeons and pediatricians

Gloria Pelizzo, Marinella Guazzotti, Catherine Klersy, Ghassan Nakib, Federico Costanzo, Erika Andreatta, Gabrio Bassotti, Valeria Calcaterra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background We determined the range of normal spleen dimensions evaluated by ultrasonography (US) in children according to sex and age and the relationship between splenic measurements, auxological data and body proportions, in order to define splenomegaly parameters in support of the surgical mini-invasive approaches in pediatrics. Methods We prospectively examined 317 caucasian children of both sexes. The patients were divided into three groups: 0–3 years; 4–10 years; 11–18 years. Sex, weight, height/length, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and xipho-pubic distance were determined for each child. US spleen evaluation included longitudinal/antero-posterior/transverse diameters, transverse area and volume. Spleen volume/abdominal volume, longitudinal spleen diameter/longitudinal left kidney diameter and longitudinal spleen diameter/xipho-pubic distance ratios were also calculated. Results For caucasian subjects, in different age groups spleen volume, transverse area and diameter increased while the spleen/abdominal volume ratio decreased significantly (p<0.001). A significant (p<0.001) decrease in longitudinal spleen diameter/xipho-pubic distance ratio was noted between the 0–3 years group and both 4–10 and 11–18 years group. Age and auxological data, except BMI, showed a high correlation with spleen dimension (r0.8). Conclusions The current concept of splenomegaly is not applicable in pediatric surgery. A dedicated classification of splenomegaly is needed for children and would improve the safety and feasibility of treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0202741
JournalPLoS One
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Spleen size evaluation in children: Time to define splenomegaly for pediatric surgeons and pediatricians'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this