The liver is a complex organ with a diverse array of functions. Thus the biochemical assessment of hepatic function is difficult, as demonstrated by the numerous tests of function which exist. In order to solve this problem, most clinical laboratories provide a battery of liver function tests in an attempt to evaluate some of its function. Traditionally these have included bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, and the transaminases, which give relatively little information about how well the liver is performing as they are essentially indicators of hepatic dysfunction. What these tests offer is a cheap and simple screening tool. Recently additional investigations have been described which provide a better description of hepatic function in the diseased state.

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