Enlarged liver refers to swelling of the liver beyond its normal size. Hepatomegaly is another word to describe this problem.
If both the liver and spleen are enlarged, it is called hepatosplenomegaly.
Hepatosplenomegaly; Enlarged liver; Liver enlargement
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:
This condition is most often detected by a provider. You may not be aware of the liver or spleen swelling.
The provider will examine you and ask questions such as:
Tests to determine the cause of hepatomegaly vary, depending on the suspected cause, but may include:
Martin P. Approach to the patient with liver disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 137.
Plevris J, Parks R. The gastrointestinal system. In: Innes JA, Dover AR, Fairhurst K, eds. Macleod's Clinical Examination. 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 6.
Squires JE, Balistreri WF. Manifestations of liver disease. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 382.
Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.