Table of Contents
HPB Surgery
Volume 4, Issue 3, Pages 171-186
Review Article

Measurement of Liver Blood Flow: A Review

1Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery and Liver Transplantation, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, Pond Street, London NW3 2QG, UK
2Division of Radiological Sciences, United Medical and Dental School, Guy's Hospital Campus, London SE1 9RT, UK
3Department of Neurology, United Medical and Dental School, Guy's Hospital Campus, London SE1 9RT, UK

Received 7 February 1991; Accepted 7 February 1991

Copyright © 1991 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The study of hepatic haemodynamics is of importance in understanding both hepatic physiology and disease processes as well as assessing the effects of portosystemic shunting and liver transplantation. The liver has the most complicated circulation of any organ and many physiological and pathological processes can affect it1,2. This review surveys the methods available for assessing liver blood flow, examines the different parameters being measured and outlines problems of applicability and interpretation for each technique.

The classification of these techniques is to some extent arbitrary and several so called “different” methods may share certain common principles. The methods reviewed have been classified into two groups (Table 1): those primarily reflecting flow through discrete vessels or to the whole organ and those used to assess local microcirculatory blood flow. All techniques have their advantages and disadvantages and in some situations a combination may provide the most information. In addition, because of the many factors affecting liver blood flow and sinusoidal perfusion, readings in a single subject may vary depending on positioning, recent food intake, anxiety, anaesthesia and drug therapy. This must be borne in mind if different studies are to be meaningfully compared.