The recent advances in physiology and biochemistry are responsible for a renewed emphasis on the functional changes accompanying disease of the different organs. The development of rapid and simple methods of blood analysis, in particular, has contributed largely toward this end.
The most widespread and striking applications of functional tests to clinical medicine have been made in the study of renal diseases. The kidney is preponderantly an excretory organ and, consequently, peculiarly suitable for functional study. Both the initial material, the blood, and the excretory product, the urine, are readily available for analysis. In consequence, tests of renal function are widely used and their value, especially that of the determination of the blood urea and the excretion of phenolsulphonephthalein, is firmly established.
The clinical study of the activities of the liver is much more difficult, for it is an organ with manifold functions, and detailed knowledge of some of its
GREENE CH. THE CLINICAL USE OF TESTS FOR HEPATIC FUNCTION. JAMA. 1925;85(19):1476–1478. doi:10.1001/jama.1925.02670190036009
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