Increased liver weights in severely burned children: Comparison of ultrasound and autopsy measurements

R. E. Barrow, R. Mlcak, L. N. Barrow, H. K. Hawkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


Hepatomegaly is a common finding at autopsy in severely burned children surviving less than 6 months. This study validates a reliable ultrasound method which can be used to identify changes in liver size in severely burned children during acute hospitalization. Thirty-eight children, age 0.5-17 years with burns covering over 40% of their total surface area were studied at autopsy. Liver weight was measured at autopsy and compared to predicted liver weight for age and height. Eighteen had liver size measured by ultrasound within 10 days of death while five had ultrasound liver measures after death just prior to autopsy. All burned children who survived 7 days or more (n=33) had liver weights at autopsy that were greater than predicted for age and height while all 23 livers measured by ultrasound were greater than predicted. Autopsy weights correlated well with weights estimated by ultrasound, R=0.824. At autopsy, those who survived 7 days or more had enlarged livers ranging from 142 to 406% of their predicted normal age and height. Common histologic findings include large and small-droplet fat deposits, and cholestasis. The degree of these histologic abnormalities correlated with the increase in liver weight, R=0.652. Ultrasound is a valid, noninvasive method for measuring liver weight changes in severely burned children during acute hospitalization. Ninety-five percent of the severely burned children from this institute had significant hepatomegaly identified at autopsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-568
Number of pages4
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2004



  • Burns
  • Hepatomegaly
  • Liver pathology
  • Liver weights
  • Steatosis
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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