Let me begin by agreeing with Dr. Sodeman that hepatomegaly is an unfortunate name for the condition we are discussing. In effect, we are describing a clinical condition under the nomenclature of one of its manifestations, which is undesirable, even though this particular finding is the most prominent manifestation. None of us, however, have been able to think of anything better, so the name must remain hepatomegaly for the present.
The first point I would like to make is that in children who harbor E. histolytica—and let me emphasize that in these cases there is laboratory proof of the presence of parasites—the status of the liver as respects size depends upon the age at which the child is seen. Hepatomegaly is a prominent finding in children with amebiasis under the age of 6 years. It becomes manifest early in the infection and in untreated cases it continues up to this age.
School of Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, La.