Portal Hypertension

Portal hypertension is abnormally high blood pressure in the portal vein, which brings blood from the intestine to 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 general circulation.

Causes of Portal Hypertension

Portal hypertension may be due to increased blood pressure in the portal blood vessels or resistance to blood flow through the liver.

Symptoms of Portal Hypertension

  • Distended abdominal cavity (ascites)
  • Bleeding of the varicose veins at the lower end of the esophagus and in the stomach lining