Unique Characteristics of the Liver: Largest Solid Organ (Nursing)

by Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

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      Slides Liver Introduction to Function and some Dysfunction.pdf
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    00:00 So, let's start with looking at that. We'll use that as our framework as we start looking at other parts of the liver. It is the largest solid organ in the body. You know the largest organ is actually skin, but we're talking about a solid organ, and that's why the liver wins the prize.

    00:16 It's about 3 pounds. So, let's add in the other body parts so you have an idea of exactly where the liver fits. Alright, so we're going to start with a blank canvass and a body. Right? Now, let's add the important organ landmarks. First, we're going to put the heart in. Now, you already have laid out in your mind from the heart, we've got the aorta coming out of the left ventricle. Right? And it's traveling down through the body, and we know that it branched off of the aorta, will feed the liver with hepatic arteries. Now, out of the right side of the heart, the atrium there, you've got the vena cava. Right? That's the one that is returning blood from the liver to that right atrium. Now, let's put the lungs in, and there they are. Alright. Now, most of us have 2 lungs. Right? We've got them located in there. The next picture I want to show you is the diaphragm. There you go. We'll lay the diaphragm in there right in the middle.

    01:17 Now, underneath the diaphragm next I'm going to put in the stomach. Okay, we've got the stomach and you see how it kind of tucks in there on the left side. Now, I'm going to just drop in the gallbladder because I want to save the liver for the really big finish. Now, let's put in the liver. Alright, remember it's the largest solid organ, excluding the skin, we don't consider that the solid organ, and it weighs about 3 to 3-1/2 pounds. Now, picture something in your world to help you know how much that represents. Either if you're a coffee drinker, that's three 1-pound bags of coffee. If you're a baker, it takes 4 sticks of butter to make a pound.

    02:01 so that would be 3 large boxes of butter, but that's about the average weight of your liver.

    02:08 So you see where everything is located. We kind of have our landmarks. Now, I want you just kind of draw on your drawing. What I'd like you to do is take your pen or pencil and draw around the superior surface of the diaphragm. That's the top of the diaphragm. So draw around the top of the diaphragm just like we have in this drawing. Okay, the diaphragm, the reason I had to do that because I wanted to have it locked in your mind that the diaphragm is a dividing line between my thoracic cavity and my abdominal cavity. So it's the main respiratory driver for breathing. Right? That's that sheath of skeletal muscle, but it's also the dividing line from the thoracic cavity to the abdominal cavity. Now, draw a vertical line just underneath where you did the diaphragm, draw a vertical line and then an intersecting horizontal line like we have on the screen. Now, it makes it clear why we say that the liver is in the right upper quadrant of the abdominal cavity because remember the diaphragm is what separates the thoracic and the abdominal cavities. Now, you'll see that the liver is located on the right side. It goes for about the 5th rib on the right to the lower border of the ribcage.

    03:23 So, when you're doing your assessments and you're taking a look at your patients, you'll know that that's what an average healthy, normal liver should feel like and about where it should be located.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Unique Characteristics of the Liver: Largest Solid Organ (Nursing) by Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN is from the course Liver Functions and Dysfunctions (Nursing).

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Right upper quadrant of the abdomen
    2. Left upper quadrant of the abdomen
    3. Right lower quadrant of the abdomen
    4. Left lower quadrant of the abdomen
    1. Diaphragm
    2. Lungs
    3. Heart
    4. Kidneys

    Author of lecture Unique Characteristics of the Liver: Largest Solid Organ (Nursing)

     Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

    Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

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