Portal Hypertension - an increase in the pressure within a certain important vain that carries blood from digestive organs to the liver. That vein is called the "portal vein." This causes the body to create other veins to act as re-routers of the blood from the organs to the liver since the original vein is blocked. Portal hypertension is the process of the original vein becoming blocked and the forming of new problematic veins that can become fragile and can bleed easily, resulting in bloody stool and other digestive problems.
Portal Hypertension Causes
The most common cause of portal hypertension is cirrhosis (scarred liver). The scar tissue forms during the healing after an injury. In the case of portal hypertension from scarred liver, it is from an liver injury caused by
alcohol abuse, possible diseases, or any other liver damage causes. The scar tissue blocks the flow of blood through the liver and causes other veins to form or become overused. Portal hypertension caused by thrombosis (clotting in the portal vein).
Portal Hypertension Symptoms
Portal Hypertension symptoms are not always noticeable until some liver damage or vein damage has occurred, in case of a spontaneous rupture and hemorrhage of weak veins, with symptoms ranging to
- Gastrointestinal tract bleeding
- Red Poop or very dark stool (Bloody stool)
- Black, tarry stools (more severe bleeding indicating possible extensive digestive tract damage)
- Vomiting blood
- Ascites, bloating from accumulation of fluid in abdomen
- Confusion and forgetfulness caused by poor liver function
- Weakened immune system from reduced levels of platelets or decreased white blood cell count
If you feel you may be at risk of portal hypertension of are experiencing bloody stools during various patterns, there is a number of tests to diagnose this weak vein problems with portal hypertension tests:
- Endoscopic examination
- Lab blood tests for portal hypertension and cause of bloody stools
Portal Hypertension Treatment
Portal hypertension treatment is prescribed based on the severity of the symptoms and the condition of the patient.
there are a number of remedies one can try at home.
Portal Hypertension Diet
Dietary and lifestyle changes are the first treatment to portal hypertension because if the patient can adhere to the new diet, medical involvement can be prevented. Portal hypertension diet is common sense
- Avoid alcohol
- Maintain a diet of low cholesterol as not to cause more blood-flow problems
- Keep a healthy weight
- Avoid fried food with bad fats
- Consult with a doctor before taking any over-the-counter medicine
- Keep a low-salt diet
- If experiencing confusion, try to eat less meat and protein
Portal Hypertension Medications
- Injections into the bleeding varices to stop or control the bleeding
- Beta blockers or nitrates to reduce pressure in the varices
- Propranolol and Isosorbide to lower pressure in the portal vein
- Drugs to help treat confusion
Portal Hypertension Radiology and Surgery
- Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) - a 1-3 hour, non-invasive radiological procedure in which a a small device is placed through the middle of the liver to help the blood flow, after which patients stay in the hospital from 0-2 days. It has 90% effectiveness, but in about a third of all cases, over time, the tube itself weakens.
- Distal splenorenal shunt (DSRS) - a surgical procedure performed under general anesthetic, lasting approximately 4 hours with a 1-2 week recovery period. During the procedure, the surgeon connects different veins in order to reduce pressure in your varices and control bleeding. DSRS controls bleeding in over 90 percent of patients