Portal Hypertension

Portal hypertension is abnormally high blood pressure in the portal vein, which supplies the liver with blood from the intestine. Portal hypertension may be due to increased blood pressure in the portal blood vessels, or resistance to blood flow through the liver. Portal hypertension can lead to the growth of new blood vessels (called collaterals) that connect blood flow from the intestine to the general circulation, bypassing the liver. When this occurs, substances that are normally removed by the liver pass into the general circulation.

Symptoms of portal hypertension may include:
  • Ascites
  • development of varicose veins

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