portal hypertension

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A state in which the pressure within the hepatic portal vein is increased, causing enlargement of the spleen, enlargement of veins in the oesophagus (gullet) (which may rupture to cause severe bleeding), and accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity (ascites). The commonest cause is cirrhosis, but other diseases of the liver or thrombosis of the portal vein will also produce it. Treatment is by diuretic drugs, by surgery to join the portal vein to the inferior vena cava (bypassing the liver; see portacaval anastomosis), or by implanting a stent within the liver to join portal tract veins to a hepatic vein tributary (TIPSStransjugular intrahepatic porto-systemic shunt).

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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