Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Ultrasound assessment of spleen size in collegiate athletes
  1. R G Hosey1,
  2. C G Mattacola2,
  3. V Kriss3,
  4. T Armsey4,
  5. J D Quarles5,
  6. J Jagger6
  1. 1Department of Family Medicine/Sports Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
  2. 2College of Health Sciences, University of Kentucky
  3. 3Department of Radiology, University of Kentucky
  4. 4Department of Family and Preventative Medicine, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA
  5. 5Department of Family Medicine/Sports Medicine, University of Kentucky
  6. 6University Health Services, University of Kentucky
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Robert G Hosey
 University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40536, USA; rhosey{at}


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.

  • spleen
  • ultrasound
  • athletics

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests: none declared