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Liver Query

Thomas Johnston, M.D. tjohn1 at pop.uky.edu
Tue Jul 16 14:03:16 EST 1996

Jeremy Cohen wrote:
> Could anyone clarify a question regarding liver metabolism for me?
> Is it true to say the liver obtains the majority of its oxygen requirement
> from the portal rather than the hepatic arterial supply? If this is the
> case is there a reason; it would seem to be illogical.
> This was  asked of one of my colleagues during an anaesthesisia
> exam. Despite floundering she still passed - but has never found the
> answer!
> Thanks very much,
> Jeremy Cohen
In the healthy liver, the hepatocytes obtain, on average, 70% of its 
blood flow and 50% of its oxygen delivery from the portal vein.  There 
are liver tissues, like the bile ducts, which depend on arterial flow 
for their oxygen supply, however.  With liver disease resulting in 
cirrhosis, progressively less and less blood flow and oxygen supply 
comes from the portal vein.
Thomas D. Johnston, MD]
Transplant Surgeon & Assistant Professor
University of Kentucky

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