Portal hypertension

Portal hypertension

] However, in less industrialized parts of the world, climate permitting, the major cause is schistosomiasis. One of the best known cases in recent years is Katie MacLennan

Signs and symptoms

Consequences of portal hypertension are caused by blood being forced down alternate channels by the increased resistance to flow through the portal system. They include:
* Ascites (free fluid in the peritoneal cavity)cite web |url=http://www.clevelandclinic.org/health/health-info/docs/0200/0252.asp?index=4912 |title=Portal Hypertension |accessdate=2007-12-07 |format= |work=]
* Hepatic encephalopathy
* Increased risk of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis
* Increased risk of hepatorenal syndrome
* Splenomegaly (enlargement of the spleen) with consequent sequestration therein of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, together leading to mild pancytopenia
* Portacaval anastomoses (esophageal varices, hemorrhoids, caput medusae), with esophageal varices posing an ongoing risk of life-threatening hemorrhage.


Medical management

Treatment with a non-selective beta blocker is often commenced once portal hypertension has been diagnosed, and almost always if there has already been bleeding from esophageal varices. Typically, this is done with either propranolol or nadolol. The addition of a nitrate, such as isosorbide mononitrate, to the beta blocker is more effective than using beta blockers alone and may be the preferred regimen in those people with portal hypertension who have already experienced variceal bleeding. In acute or severe complications of the hypertension, such as bleeding varices, intravenous octreotide (a somatostatin analogue) or intravenous terlipressin (an antidiuretic hormone analogue) is commenced to decrease the portal pressure.

Percutaneous interventions

Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunting is the creation of a connection between the portal and the venous system. As the pressure over the venous system is lower than over a hypertensive portal system, this would decrease the pressure over the portal system and a decreased risk of complications.

urgical interventions

*Distal splenorenal shunt
*Liver transplant

The most definitive treatment of portal hypertension is a liver transplant.


External links

* [http://videos.med.wisc.edu/videoInfo.php?videoid=249 VIDEO - Portal Hypertension: Shunt Surgery in the Era of Transplant and TIPS] , Alysandra Lal, MD, speaks at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (2007)
* [http://www.clevelandclinic.org/health/health-info/docs/0200/0252.asp?index=4912 Overview] at Cleveland Clinic
* [http://www.childliverdisease.org Children's Liver Disease Foundation]

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