Objectives: To determine normal spleen dimensions in a healthy collegiate athletic population.
Methods: 631 Division I collegiate athletes from one university participated in the study. During pre-participation examinations, demographic data collected were collected from volunteer athletes including sex, race, measurement of height and weight, and age. Subjects also completed a medical history form to determine any history of mononucleosis infection, platelet disorder, sickle cell disease (or trait), thalassaemia, or recent viral symptoms. Subjects then underwent a limited abdominal ultrasound examination, where splenic length and width were recorded.
Results: Mean (SD) splenic length was 10.65 (1.55) cm and width, 5.16 (1.21) cm. Men had larger spleens than women (p<0.001). White subjects had larger spleens than African-American subjects (p<0.001). A previous history of infectious mononucleosis or the presence of recent cold symptoms had no significant affect on spleen size. In more than 7% of athletes, baseline spleen size met current criteria for splenomegaly.
Conclusions: There is a wide range of normal spleen size among collegiate athletes. Average spleen size was larger in men and white athletes than in women and black athletes. A single ultrasound examination for determination of splenomegaly is of limited value in this population.
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Competing interests: none declared
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