Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Reference ranges for organ weights of infants at autopsy: results of >1,000 consecutive cases from a single centre

Jeremy W Pryce12*, Andrew R Bamber2, Michael T Ashworth1, Liina Kiho1, Marian Malone1 and Neil J Sebire2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Histopathology, Camelia Botnar Laboratories, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Great Ormond Street, London WC1N 3JH, UK

2 Institute of Child Health, UCL, London, UK

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Clinical Pathology 2014, 14:18  doi:10.1186/1472-6890-14-18

Published: 28 April 2014



Infancy is the most common period for childhood death, including both neonatal deaths from obstetric or medical complications and sudden unexpected infant deaths. The weighing of organs at autopsy is an established process and is recommended in current protocols. However, minimal contemporary data is available regarding reference ranges for organ weights of infants.


Organ weight data for consecutive infant autopsies over a 14 year period performed at a single tertiary centre, including >1,000 cases, were examined in order to provide up to date reference ranges across this age range, using linear regression modelling and the standard LMS method.


1,525 infant autopsies were analysed, of which 1,190 were subsequently used in the creation of linear regression models prior to performance of the LMS method. Organ weight charts were produced for the 5th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 95th centiles for the heart, lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys, pancreas, thymus gland and adrenal glands.


This study provides the largest single centre contemporary dataset of infant autopsies allowing provision of up-to-date ‘normal’ ranges for all major organ weights across this age range.

Infant; Autopsy; Postmortem; Organ weights