Hepatic synthetic capacity: Dx


The average adult liver synthesizes approximately 15 g of albumin per day with a half-life of approximately 20 days, with 4 percent degraded daily. Thus if hepatic protein synthesis came to a halt, it would not be noticeable for several days. Hypoalbuminemia is somewhat nonspecific for liver dysfunction since other conditions may be responsible including systemic inflammation, renal loss, plasma volume expansion, maldistribution, and malnutrition. Hypoalbuminemia is more common in chronic liver disorders such as cirrhosis. The degree of reduction in levels usually reflects severe liver damage with reduced synthesis.

The liver synthesizes 11 blood coagulation proteins. Liver derived procoagulants have short half lives 4 hours for factor VII and 4 days for fibrinogen. They can be tested individually or indirectly by measures of clotting ability such as a PT. A prolonged PT usually reflects a low level of VIIa, which has the shortest plasma half life.


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