How the Liver Works

The liver is a complex organ that does many things for the body. A child cannot live without a working liver.

Some of the main functions of the liver include:

  • Making bile to help digest food and store nutrients
  • Storing sugar, iron and vitamins for the body to use later
  • Filtering the body by cleaning the blood of harmful chemicals
  • Making albumin, a blood protein that helps carry medicines and other substances through the blood
  • Making protein to help the blood clot normally

When the liver fails, your child may experience symptoms including:

  • Poor growth 
  • Easy bruising or bleeding longer than normal 
  • Jaundice, yellowing of the eyes or skin 
  • Fluid collecting in the stomach, legs and feet 
  • Itchy skin 
  • Weakness or tire easily 
  • Loss of appetite, upset stomach or weight loss 
  • Cirrhosis or scarring of the liver