Portal Hypertension

One consequence of chronic liver disease can be portal hypertension. This is an increase in the blood pressure in the portal vein, which carries the blood from the bowel and spleen to the liver.

The pressure in the portal vein may rise because there is a blockage, such as a blood clot, or because the resistance in the liver is increased because of scarring (fibrosis) or cirrhosis. As a result, the pressure in the portal vein rises. This is known as portal hypertension.

Symptoms of portal hypertension
Portal hypertension and its consequence of bleeding varices are usually seen in people with moderately advanced liver disease. There may be other features such as ascities (fluid in the stomach) and encephalopathy (disturbance of brain function as a result of disordered liver function).