A. ABOUT LIVER
- Liver is the wedge shaped gland, situated in the upper abdomen (right hypochondrium and epigastric region) and protected by the lower rib cage
- It weighs about 150g at birth representing 4-5% of body weight and grows to 1.4 - 1.8 kg in a healthy adult male and 1.2 - 1.4 kg in the healthy adult female representing 1.5 - 2% of total body weight, making it the largest gland in the human body
- The liver is suspended from the body wall by folds of tissue called ligaments. Normally, ligaments do not contain blood vessels but they can contain large and thin walled vessels in patients with cirrhosis.
- The liver is a very vascular organ and 20-25% of entire blood volume flows through the liver every minute.
- The liver receives blood from two sources: the hepatic artery and the portal vein. Hepatic artery carries oxygen rich blood to the liver, while
- Portal vein carries nutrient rich blood from the gastrointestinal tract and spleen to liver
- The liver can usually be divided into a right hemiliver and a left hemiliver. The right hemiliver in a normal adult constitutes 55-65% of the total liver volume though it can vary between 45-75%. The division of between the two hemilivers is an imaginary line (Rex-Cantlie line) that is not apparent on the surface
- The hepatic lobule or acinus is the basic functional unit of the liver and consists of a central vein surrounded by hepatocytes (liver cells) with portal triads in the interlobular planes.
- Hepatocytes are arranged in three zones, which also seem to have specific metabolic functions :
- zone 1 (periportal)
- zone 2 (midzone) and
- zone 3 (centrilobular)
B. WHAT DOES THE LIVER DO?
- The liver performs more than 500 vital functions which can be broadly classified into :
- Synthetic functions
- Storage functions
- Metabolic functions
- Transport functions
- Filtration and detoxification functions
- Excretory functions
- Immune functions
- The liver plays a pivotal role in glucose, vitamin and fat metabolism, protein synthesis, blood clotting as well as elimination and clearance of drugs and toxins in addition to contributing significantly to immune function of the body
C. HOW IS LIVER DISEASE DIAGNOSED ?
- Liver disease can often be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms can be vague and easily confused with other health problems. In some cases, a person may have no symptoms at all but the liver may already have suffered significant damage.
- If your doctor suspects that you may have liver disease, he or she will want to have a frank discussion regarding the possible risk factors to which you may have been exposed. These risk factors may include prescription or over-the-counter drug use, past blood transfusions, sexual activity, alcohol consumption, occupational exposure to blood products (i.e. through accidental needle sticks), exposure to toxic chemicals, family history of liver disease, travel to high risk areas or use or experimentation with injection drugs
- Your doctor may look for signs of liver disease such as jaundice, a swollen abdomen or tenderness in the area of the liver. Blood tests may be used to determine if your liver is functioning properly and to help discover what may be affecting your liver.
- Blood tests can look for the presence of liver inflammation or screen for antibodies or virus particles that might indicate a specific form of liver disease. These tests are called liver function tests.
"We provide high quality, affordable service with our experience of more than 15 years in liver cancer surgery and transplantations"
Dr. Sanjeev Kanoria
FRCS (Eng & Glasg), FRCS (Transplant), MBA (LBS), PhD (UCL))
Managing Director & Senior Consultant Surgeon
Our view on liver disease & transplant
Donor & Patient Opinion