Portal hypertension is increased blood pressure in the portal venous system, a system of veins draining the abdominal organs into the portal vein, which then drains into the liver. Portal hypertension can result in blood backing up into various abdominal organs, such as the spleen, esophagus, and rectum with resultant bleeding.
Portal hypertension can be caused by anything that limits blood flow through the portal vein, through the hepatic veins draining the liver, or through the liver itself. As a result, pressure builds up in the portal system. Examples of conditions that can cause portal hypertension include portal vein clots, liver disease, and right heart failure. The most common cause of portal hypertension is chronic liver scarring called cirrhosis.
Risk factors for portal hypertension include
Symptoms of portal hypertension may not appear until the pressure reaches high levels and causes complications such as:
Because portal hypertension is commonly caused by cirrhosis, liver failure symptoms can also indicate portal hypertension:
Portal hypertension cannot measured with a blood pressure cuff like systemic hypertension, so it is often not diagnosed until it becomes symptomatic. The diagnosis can be confirmed through:
Some tests that may also be performed to help determine causes and related conditions include
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our IR physicians, please call 310-481-7545.