Budd-Chiari syndrome

Budd-Chiari syndrome (BCS) is a disorder affecting the liver and blood vessels, where blood flowing into the liver has difficulty in being able to flow out, leading to serious complications.

After blood has passed through the liver, it flows out through the hepatic veins and into the inferior vena cava, a large blood vessel that carries blood back to the heart. In BCS, this flow is partially blocked, sometimes referred to as ‘an obstruction of hepatic venous outflow’.

The immediate result is a build-up (congestion) of blood in the liver, as there is more flowing in than flowing out. The liver becomes swollen, tender to the touch and a source of discomfort. The congestion causes fluid to leak from the liver into the abdominal cavity. The resulting build-up of fluid in the abdominal area is called ascites, one of the commonest symptoms of Budd-Chiari syndrome. It may be visible as a bulge in your tummy area and can be uncomfortable and make it hard to breathe and eat normally.