Each of the numerous functions of the liver has been used, at one time or another, as an index to the function of the whole organ. The ideal test by which a quantitative estimation of one function of the liver may thereby indicate the degree of impairment in disease has not as yet been discovered. Although this criticism may be directed against any of the tests in use, it is not constructive. Only by repeated trial and experimentation can one hope to learn which tests are best suited to estimate the function of the organ in any given disease.
Perhaps the most infallible test is the clinical observation of jaundice, and of the concomitant changes in the excreta, namely, dark urine and clay-colored stools. Along with these clinical tests may be listed the laboratory tests which determine the amount of bilirubin in the blood, chief of which are the icterus
CORNELL VH. THE BROMSULPHALEIN HEPATIC FUNCTION TEST: REPORT OF A SERIES OF TESTS. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1929;44(6):818–833. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/archinte.1929.00140060033004
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