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Heart And The Liver

( Originally Published 1921 )

Liver trouble and heart disease are closely allied. One of the most frequent symptoms of heart disease is tenderness over the liver. This indicates a failure of the heart to remove properly the blood from the liver. Enlargement and tenderness of the liver is an important indication of a general disturbance of the circulation which finally results in failure of the heart. It is venous stagnation that causes the swelling and soreness over the liver. The liver in this way affords an important indication of the progress of the heart disease. The tenderness is often greater when the heart has suddenly failed than in cases, of long standing.

The interference with the work of the liver may cause jaundice. In other heart sufferers the liver shows a distinct pulsation. Many instances of supposed biliousness are in reality heart trouble and are cured when the heart is treated.

Heart disease may sometimes be mistaken for liver disease on account of the profound effect that the heart has upon the liver.

A patient in the hospital some time ago was supposed to have liver trouble, but did not respond to treatment for this complaint ; when her heart was treated, however, the liver trouble disappeared. This was a striking experience and in a lesser degree is often repeated.

A nurse should be informed about the relationship between the liver and the heart ; and while she may humor her patient in the belief that biliousness is the cause of the trouble, she should herself know when the heart is the underlying difficulty.

In this connection the nurse should guard her patient against the injudicious use of purgative medicines or a foolish excess of dieting.

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