The portal vein is the large blood vessel that brings blood from your intestines to your liver.
Hypertension is a medical term for high blood pressure.
So, portal hypertension is high blood pressure in your portal vein.
Most people get portal hypertension from cirrhosis (a liver disease in which scar tissue replaces normal liver tissue)
Portal hypertension is dangerous because it can lead to bleeding in your stomach and esophagus (the tube that connects your throat to your stomach)
Medicine can lower blood pressure in your portal vein
You will need emergency treatment if you have bleeding in your stomach and esophagus
The main complication is:
The high blood pressure in the portal vein forces blood into other blood vessels. The other blood vessels are around your stomach and esophagus (the hollow tube that carries food to your stomach). These blood vessels swell up with blood, which makes them bleed easily. Bleeding from these vessels can be severe and even fatal.
Portal hypertension itself doesn't cause symptoms, but its effects may cause symptoms:
Swelling and a tight feeling of the belly from fluid building up there (ascites)
Swollen veins on your belly
If portal hypertension causes bleeding from your stomach and esophagus, you may have:
You may also have symptoms of liver failure such as:
Doctors suspect portal hypertension if you have:
There aren't any specific tests for portal hypertension, but doctors may do tests on your liver, including:
If you're bleeding, doctors will look down your throat with a flexible scope (endoscope). The scope will let them see exactly where in your esophagus and stomach the bleeding is coming from. They can then treat the bleeding.
Bleeding from the veins of the stomach and esophagus is a medical emergency. Doctors treat this bleeding by:
To prevent bleeding from the veins of the stomach and esophagus, doctors use: