Portal Hypertension, Animation

portal hypertension refers to high blood
pressures in the hepatic portal vein the large vein that carries blood from the
digestive tract spleen and pancreas to the liver within the liver blood runs
through tiny channels where it exchanges contents with the liver cells this is
where nutrients are processed toxins and pathogens are removed from the blood
before it exits the liver via the hepatic veins to enter the general
circulation portal hypertension usually results from an obstruction or an
increased resistance to blood flow which may occur before within or after the
liver most commonly it happens within the liver due to liver damage in
diseases such as cirrhosis and schistosomiasis cirrhosis is by far the
most common cause in developed countries while schistosomiasis an infection by
parasitic flatworms is more prevalent in children from developing countries
cirrhosis is the widespread scarring of liver tissues caused by long-term
alcohol abuse chronic viral hepatitis or fatty liver clinical presentation of
portal hypertension may include abdominal distension known as ascites a
result of fluid leaking into the abdominal cavity under high blood
pressures enlarged spleen due to congestion of the splenic veins
formation of so called collateral vessels as alternative routes for blood
to bypass the liver these new blood vessels connect some digestive organs
directly to the general circulation by doing so they reduce blood flow through
the portal vein and relieve portal pressures but they may also cause
serious complications as blood pressures increase these small vessels can become
engorged and form varices which may rupture and bleed variceal bleeding can
be massive and life-threatening because collateral vessels direct blood away
from the liver toxins that are normally removed by the liver can now reach the
general circulation and pass into the brain causing symptoms such as confusion
drowsiness tremor or even coma in a condition known as hepatic
encephalopathy treatments aim to prevent and manage digestive tract bleeding and
include ongoing monitoring with endoscopy and a variety of drugs
if these fail surgery to reroute blood flow may be performed liver
transplantation may be needed in case of severe liver damage

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