International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 128, Issue 4, pp 615–620 | Cite as

New reference tables and user-friendly Internet application for predicted heart weights

  • Jessica Vanhaebost
  • Mohamed Faouzi
  • Patrice Mangin
  • Katarzyna MichaudEmail author
Original Article



Knowledge of normal heart weight ranges is important information for pathologists. Comparing the measured heart weight to reference values is one of the key elements used to determine if the heart is pathological, as heart weight increases in many cardiac pathologies. The current reference tables are old and in need of an update.


The purposes of this study are to establish new reference tables for normal heart weights in the local population and to determine the best predictive factor for normal heart weight. We also aim to provide technical support to calculate the predictive normal heart weight.


The reference values are based on retrospective analysis of adult Caucasian autopsy cases without any obvious pathology that were collected at the University Centre of Legal Medicine in Lausanne from 2007 to 2011. We selected 288 cases. The mean age was 39.2 years. There were 118 men and 170 women. Regression analyses were performed to assess the relationship of heart weight to body weight, body height, body mass index (BMI) and body surface area (BSA).


The heart weight increased along with an increase in all the parameters studied. The mean heart weight was greater in men than in women at a similar body weight. BSA was determined to be the best predictor for normal heart weight. New reference tables for predicted heart weights are presented as a web application that enable the comparison of heart weights observed at autopsy with the reference values.


The reference tables for heart weight and other organs should be systematically updated and adapted for the local population. Web access and smartphone applications for the predicted heart weight represent important investigational tools.


Heart weight Autopsy Reference table Smartphone application 



We gratefully acknowledge Christian Lehmann, project manager in informatics, and his team for the realization of the heart weight calculator and Allison Felley Jacquemont for editing the manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Fig. S1 (DOCX 21.4 KB)
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Fig. S2 (DOCX 17.7 KB)
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Table S1 (DOCX 15.2 KB)
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Table S2 (DOCX 13.0 KB)
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Table S3 (XLSX 12.6 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica Vanhaebost
    • 1
  • Mohamed Faouzi
    • 2
  • Patrice Mangin
    • 1
  • Katarzyna Michaud
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.University Center of Legal MedicineLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Social and Preventive MedicineLausanneSwitzerland

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