The early diagnosis of hepatic disease and of the type of lesion present is of the utmost importance. A slight enlargement of the liver with or without symptoms, or the occurrence of a group of symptoms pointing to hepatic disturbance, is not an uncommon finding. There are also some obscure abdominal conditions, in which even the diagnosis of the organ affected cannot be made conclusively. In all these cases a practical test of the liver function is a most welcome help in solving the problem.
Many clinical procedures have been described for detecting deranged hepatic function. The majority are based on one or more of the functions attributed to the organ,, but up to the present time few, if any, have been able to withstand a careful scrutiny.
In 1909, Abel and Rowntree,1 searching for an intravenous cathartic, noticed that when phenoltetrachlorphthalein was injected into experimental animals, most of the