Portal hypertension is an increase of pressure in the vein carries, that leads the blood from the organs involved in digestion to the liver. At the base there is a blocking of the flow of blood through the liver, which in many cases is associated with cirrhosis, but can also be due to hepatitis, alcohol abuse or other conditions that may damage the liver. Furthermore, portal hypertension may be associated with thrombosis, i.e. to the formation of a clot, in the same vein.

Initially portal hypertension may not be associated with any symptoms, but the increase in pressure leads to the formation of varicose veins in the esophagus and stomach. These veins may weaken and lose blood and the possible consequences include gastrointestinal bleeding, blood in the stool or vomiting, accumulation of fluid in the abdomen and lower levels of platelets or white blood cells. The malfunction of the liver may also lead to encephalopathy.


What kind of diseases can be associated with portal hypertension?

The following diseases may be associated with portal hypertension:

  • Primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Hepatitis
  • Heart failure
  • Liver cancer

Remember that this is not an exhaustive list and it is highly recommended to consult your doctor, in case of symptom’s persistence


What is the therapy for portal hypertension?

The remedies against portal hypertension include a proper diet, intake of medicines, endoscopy, the surgery and radiology. The best remedy depends on the severity of symptoms and on the health of the liver.

In general, the first diagnosis follows a prescription of a drug therapy or surgery to block endoscopic variceal bleeding or to stop the flow of blood through them. Sometimes the two treatments are combined.

If this approach is not sufficient to control blood loss, you may have to resort to radiological or surgical methods. Surgery may also be necessary to remove fluid accumulated in the abdomen, and liver transplantation is considered an option in cases of liver disease in terminal phase.

However, it is also important to engage in changes in lifestyle and food habits. In particular, it is good to moderate the intake of alcohol, limit the intake of sodium and, in case where among the symptoms confusional state is included, limit the proteins. The patient must limit the amount of drugs taken with the permission of his doctor.


When is most likely to contact your doctor in case of portal hypertension?

In case of portal hypertension it is important to contact your doctor, so he can determine the best treatment.