Hepatomegaly simply means enlargement of the liver. Mean Liver size is 10.5 cm for an adult male and 7 cm for an adult female. Liver size depends on sex, age, body size. Hepatomegaly is considered only when the liver is enlarged at least 3cm from its normal size.
Sometimes the liver is “pushed down” by the hyperexpanded lungs (Emphysema). This is where the “Liver span” (distance from the upper border of the liver to lower border of the liver at the right midclavicular line) is more important than the “liver extension” below the costal margin. So, always confirm whether the liver is actually enlarged or just pushed down before you come to a conclusion.
80% of the abdominal cases given at the exams have organomegaly. But Isolated Hepatomegaly is different from Hepatosplenomegaly. Latter is discussed as a separate case in the app. It has its own differential diagnosis. So, once you have detected hepatomegaly, always exclude a co-existing splenomegaly.
Sometimes hepatomegaly may be due to venous congestion secondary to right heart failure. Look for,
This cachectic patient is not pale, icteric and there are no peripheral stigmata of CLCD. There is finger clubbing. There is left supraclavicular lymphadenopathy which are hard, fixed and non-tender. There is a palpable umbilical nodule (Sister-Mary-Joseph). There are no surgical scars or distended superficial abdominal veins. Abdomen is non-tender to superficial palpation. There is a right hypochondrial mass which I cannot get above and moves with respiration. Its dull to percussion and its dullness continues with the Liver dullness. It is enlarged 5cm below the costal margin in the right midclavicular line. It is nontender, irregular and hard in consistency and has a nodular surface. The upper border of the liver is at 5th intercostal space in the midclavicular line. There is a hepatic bruit.
There is no splenomegaly or ballotable loin masses or shifting flank dullness. The JVP is not elevated, and there is no evidence of heart failure.
My diagnosis is Hepatomegaly probably due to secondary metastasis from underlying intra-abdominal malignancy. GI lymphoma is highly likely as evident by Sister-Mary-Joseph nodule and Finger clubbing.
This patient is not pale, not icteric and there are no peripheral stigmata of CLCD. There is finger clubbing. There is no ankle oedema or lymphadenopathy.
The abdomen is not distended. There are no surgical scars or distended superficial abdominal veins. Abdomen is non-tender to superficial palpation.
There is a right hypochondrial mass which I cannot get above and moves with respiration. Its dull to percussion and its dullness continues with the Liver dullness. It is enlarged 2cm below the costal margin in the right midclavicular line. It is tender, regular and firm in consistency and has a smooth surface. The upper border of the liver is at 5th intercostal space in the midclavicular line. There is no hepatic bruit.
There is no splenomegaly or ballotable loin masses or shifting flank dullness.
The JVP is elevated. There is loud second heart sound. There are coarse late-inspiratory crepitations in the lower zones of both lung fields.
My diagnosis is Tender Hepatomegaly probably secondary to hepatic congestion due to right heart failure. The cause for the right heart failure could well be due to pulmonary hypertension secondary to bronchiectasis.
You do not have to be an expert in order to diagnose a patient with Chronic Liver Cell Disease (CLCD), as it is too obvious even with inspection alone. But you might be under-prepared for this case, just because you would not expect such easy cases at the exam settings.
So, try to memorize all the key features suggestive of CLCD and organize your presentation mentioning the important positives as well as the negatives. Always try your best to assess the aetiology and the complications of CLCD during your examination.
The general examination of CLCD is vital and you can get many important positive and negative findings for the diagnosis, aetiology & complications. There are two ways you can look into this step of examination. Easier way for a beginner would be, examining region by region remembering the clinical features you have to look for in each region.
But the smarter (and more advanced) way is mind mapping the clinical findings into diagnosis, aetiology & complications (Refer the Flashcard).
In patients with Cirrhosis liver is usually shrunken. So, you won’t be expecting the liver to be enlarged. But what if the liver is palpable? Then suspect Hepatoma, Alcoholic CLCD & NAFLD.IMPORTANT FACT TO BE REMEMBERED
This patient has generalized body swelling with gross abdominal distention and does not appear to be drowsy. He is icteric and anaemic. He has got no Xanthelasma or KF rings. The patient is having parotid swelling, gynaecomastia and there are multiple spider navei located on upper chest and the back. He has got palmar erythema, finger clubbing, leukonychia and there is Dupuytren’s contracture in the right hand. He has bilateral pitting ankle oedema and there is no asterixis.
The abdomen is distended and the umbilicus is slightly inverted & retracted (smiling umbilicus). There are no surgical scars or distended superficial veins of the abdomen. There is no tenderness on superficial palpation. Liver is not palpable. There is a left hypochondrial mass 3cm from the costal margin, which moves diagonally with respiration. Its superior border is not palpable and its not ballotable. There is a notch in its anterior border. It is dull to percussion and its dullness continues with the splenic dullness with no evidence of band of resonance in between. There is moderate ascites as evidenced by shifting flank dullness; no fluid thrill. There is no splenic or liver bruits.
My diagnosis is Decompensated Chronic Liver Cell Disease (CLCD) complicated with portal hypertension probably due to heavy alcoholic abuse. He has got no evidence of SBP or Hepatic Encephalopathy