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Portal hypertension

Portal hypertension
Classification & external resources
The portal vein and its tributaries.
ICD-10 K76.6
ICD-9 572.3
DiseasesDB 10388
eMedicine radio/570  med/1889
MeSH D006975

In medicine, portal hypertension is hypertension (high blood pressure) in the portal vein and its branches. It is often defined as a portal pressure gradient (the difference in pressure between the portal vein and the hepatic veins) of 12 mm Hg or greater. Many conditions can result in portal hypertension. In North America and Europe, it is usually the result of cirrhosis of the liver.[1] However, in less industrialized parts of the world, climate permitting, the major cause is schistosomiasis.


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:


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.

Surgical interventions

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


  1. ^ Portal Hypertension: Manifestations of Liver Disease: Merck Manual Home Edition. Merck (August 2006). Retrieved on 2007-11-08.
  2. ^ Portal Hypertension. Retrieved on 2007-12-07.
  • 00863 at CHORUS
  • Overview at Cleveland Clinic

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Portal_hypertension". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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