The liver, which is the body's largest internal organ, is located in the right upper part of the abdomen under the diaphragm. The liver is divided into two sections, the right lobe and the left lobe. The gallbladder, which stores bile produced by the liver, is attached below the right lobe. Blood comes from the intestine and enters the portal vein, then passes through the liver before returning to the heart and lungs to be oxygenated.
The liver performs several important functions:
- changes food into energy for growth and activity
- breaks down and removes chemicals and drugs that may harm your body
- produces bile which absorbs fat and vitamins from the food you eat
- produces proteins needed for blood clotting
- maintains a balance in hormones
Liver failure means the liver is no longer adequately performing these functions.