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Derivation of new reference tables for human heart weights in light of increasing body mass index
  1. Kezia Gaitskell1,
  2. Rafael Perera2,
  3. Elizabeth J Soilleux3
  1. 1Somerville College, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
  2. 2Department of Primary Health Care, Oxford University, Headington, Oxford, UK
  3. 3Department of Cellular Pathology, John Radcliffe Hospital/Oxford University, Headington, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Elizabeth J Soilleux, Consultant Pathologist/Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer, Department of Cellular Pathology, John Radcliffe Hospital/ Oxford University, Headley Way, Headington, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK; elizabeth.soilleux{at}


As body weights and body mass indices have increased over time, we questioned the validity of correlating heart weight with body weight and whether tables from previous decades remain relevant. We investigated this by collecting details of heart weight, body weight, height, gender and age from 384 autopsy cases with no obvious heart or lung disease. Heart weights, body weights and heights showed a normal distribution for both genders. Heart weight correlated slightly better with body surface area than body weight and we present new reference charts derived from these data. The correlation between heart weight and body weight has changed little, despite increases in body weight and body mass index. As life expectancy is increasing, we investigated the effect of age on heart weight and demonstrated a small increase in heart weight relative to body surface area for both genders, in contrast to a previous study.

  • Autopsy pathology
  • cardiovascular
  • death
  • heart
  • statistics

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  • Linked article 085902.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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