Gastrointestinal varices (patient information)

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Syed Hassan A. Kazmi BSc, MD [2]


Gastrointestinal varices are caused by an ncrease in blood flow and vascular resistance in portal vein known as portal hypertension. Common symptoms of portal hypertension include bloody vomiting, tarry stools, abdominal distention, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Patients who are at high risk for portal hypertension include intravenous drug use (IVDU), tattooing or piercing in unhygienic condition, needlestick injury, blood transfusion before 1992, viral hepatitis, unprotected sexual intercourse, schistosomiasis in childhood, and family history of hereditary liver disease. The mainstay of treatment in portal hypertension is surgery. The medical therapy for decreasing the tone of liver veins and decreasing the pressure is suggested. Common complications of portal hypertension include peritoneum infection, renal insufficiency, severe confusion, spleen enlargement, abdominal distension, bloody vomiting, renal failure, and pulmonary failure.

What are the symptoms of Portal hypertension?

Symptoms of portal hypertension include:

What causes Portal hypertension?

Common causes of portal hypertension include:

Who is at highest risk?

Patients who are at high risk for portal hypertension include:


Portal hypertension is diagnosed based on:

When to seek urgent medical care?

Patients with the following symptom have to seek urgent medical care:

Treatment options

Where to find medical care for Portal hypertension?

Directions to Hospitals Treating Portal hypertension


Effective measures for the primary prevention of portal hypertension, include:

Effective measures for the secondary prevention of portal hypertension, include:

What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?

Possible complications

Common complications of portal hypertension include: