Medical Surgical Liver Overview #3

Question

Which is an indicator that the liver is not functioning properly?

Answers

  1. Increased total cholesterol
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because liver dysfunction or failure can hinder an individual’s ability to clear cholesterol, increasing the total cholesterol level in the body. If the liver is not functioning properly, the cholesterol produced and taken in by food can not be cleared properly, leading to increased cholesterol levels. Cholesterol levels will be abnormal, including total cholesterol above the normal level of 200 mg/dL, LDL will be greater than 100 mg/dL, and HDL will be less than 40 mg/dL.

  2. Increased clotting ability
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because if the liver is not functioning properly, clotting factors are not produced as they normally are. This will produce a decreased level of clotting factors and increased bleeding tendency. If the liver is not functioning properly, the cholesterol produced and taken in by food can not be cleared properly, leading to increased cholesterol levels.

  3. Decreased bilirubin
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because increased (not decreased) bilirubin occurs if the liver is not functioning properly. Increased amounts of bilirubin is the cause for the jaundice or yellowing of the skin color noted on clients with liver dysfunction.

  4. Decreased heart rate
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because increased, not decreased heart rate is most associated with liver dysfunction or failure. If the liver is not functioning properly, the cholesterol produced and taken in by food can not be cleared properly, leading to increased cholesterol levels.

Overview

Liver dysfunction or failure can hinder an individual’s ability to clear cholesterol, increasing the total cholesterol level in the body.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in all cells of the body. Cholesterol is used to produce hormones of the body, vitamin D, and various things that help the body digest food. Normally, the liver produces all the cholesterol the body needs. What an individual eats also provides cholesterol. If the liver is not functioning properly, the cholesterol produced and taken in by food can not be cleared properly, leading to increased cholesterol levels. Cholesterol levels will be abnormal, including total cholesterol above the normal level of 200 mg/dL, LDL will be greater than 100 mg/dL, and HDL will be less than 40 mg/dL.

Test Taking Tip

Remember that the liver not only produces cholesterol, but is responsible for clearing the cholesterol.

Video Rationale