Updating Normal Organ Weights Using a Large Current Sample Database

Autopsy Committee of the College of American Pathologists

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context.—Organ weights are an essential part of autopsy analysis. Deviations from normal organ weights provide important clues to disease processes. The assessment of normal organ weights depends on reliable reference tables, but most widely available reference tables are based on data that are either decades old or derived from relatively small sample sizes. Objective.—To provide an updated reference table of organ weights based on contemporary sources and a large sample size. Design.—Organ weights from 4197 carefully screened autopsies performed on adults at the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office in West Palm Beach, Florida, and the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. Results.—Height and body weight data in this study reflect the well-recognized increases in both variables, but most particularly in body weight, seen during the last decades. The study data show a strong positive association between organ weight and body weight for the heart, liver, and spleen. There is a similar but weaker association between body weight and the weight of the lungs and kidneys. Brain weight is independent of body weight but shows a strong negative association with age. Even when controlling for body weight, men’s organs are heavier, except for the weight of the liver, which is comparable in men and women. These associations are in agreement with the findings of previous studies. The current study suggests that, for some of the commonly weighed organs, there has been an increase in median organ weight when compared with existing references. Conclusions.—The tables presented here provide an updated reference that should prove useful to autopsy pathologists in the forensic and hospital settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1486-1495
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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