Liver, Gall Bladder, Pancreas -

The liver is the most important detox organ. If the liver is weak, our mood can become affected. Liver disease is often connected to excess - of drink, food, drugs and life.

The liver is responsible for storing energy in the form of glycogen. When the liver is weak, this storage is affected.

Anatomy

The liver weighs about 1.5 kilos, and is the largest exocrinic organ. Every exocrinic organ has an excretory duct, and the gall bladder is the liver’s.

Functions

Detox Metabolise Produce bile

The liver lies in the upper right abdomen. Position is dependent on breathing, posture and constitution. It is partially covered by the peritoneum, except where it connects to the diaphragm.

The liver is mostly hidden by the ribs. 3/4 to the right. 1/4 to the left. Neighbouring organs include:

Diaphragm Stomach Duodenum Gall bladder Right kidney Right adrenal gland Inferior vena cava Esophagus Hepatic flexure

Division

The liver is divided into four lobes: caudate lobe, quadrate lobe, left liver lobe and right liver lobe. The caudate and quadrate lobes are on the back of the liver, with the caudate lying superior and the quadrate inferior. They are a part of the right liver lobe. There are several ligaments in the liver: the round ligament which is found on the lower posterior side of the liver; and the falciform ligament which separates the left and right lobes, visible from anterior view.

Also on the back of the liver is the porta hepatis. This is where the common hepatic duct, portal vein, hepatic artery, vegetative fibres and lymphatic vessels enter the liver. There are also lymphatic nodes that purify the lymph exiting the liver and gall bladder.

There is no hepatic vein.

The liver sends blood back to the heart into the inferior vena cava.

The liver does not have any pain fibres and therefore cannot feel pain. Even if the liver is damaged, you won’t feel anything. However, the liver is surrounded by a connective tissue capsule, so when the liver swells due to inflammation, it can apply pressure against the capsule.

The liver receives blood via the hepatic artery. This supplies all the cells with the oxygen and nutrients they need.

Oxygen poor blood is received from the portal vein but is nutrient rich as it has passed through the stomach, pancreas, spleen and intestines.

The blood in the hepatic artery and portal vein are mixed in the sinusoids (large liver capillaries). It collects in the central vein, flows through three hepatic veins and then into the inferior vena cava.

1 litre of blood enters the liver every minute. 25% of this comes from the hepatic artery and 75% from the portal vein.

The portacaval anastomosis is the connection made between the portal vein and superior and inferior vena cava. It regulates blood flow into the liver.

If cirrhosis develops, the liver is taken over by connective tissue and blood cannot flow into the sinusoids. This causes a backflow and jam in the portal vein. That’s why varicose veins in the esophageal veins, rectum and abdominal wall occur.