The liver is one of the vital organs of the body, responsible for many of functions that the body needs to survive. The most important function of the liver is to filter the blood coming from the digestive tract, before passing it to the rest of the body. The liver also detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes drugs. As it does so, the liver secretes bile that ends up back in the intestines. The liver also makes proteins important for blood clotting and other functions.
Symptoms of liver disease can include:
- abdominal pain and swelling
- weight loss
Many diseases affect the liver directly or as a consequence of an illness or disease that begins in another organ.
Tests for liver diseases:
The work of the liver can be tested by doing blood tests called liver function tests. These include measurement of Serum bilirubin, Liver enzymes, Clotting tests and Serum albumin. The anatomy of the liver (i.e. whether the shape of the liver altered in any way, or whether there are tumours within it) can be assessed by doing an ultrasonography (USG) scan, computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, nuclear medicine scan, endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography (ERCP) scan and liver biopsy.
Dr Bhandari is a specialist Liver Surgeon in Perth.