Portal hypertension is abnormally high blood pressure in branches of the portal vein, the large vein that brings blood from the intestine to the liver. Portal hypertension itself does not cause symptoms, but complications from the condition can lead to an enlarged abdomen (ascites), abdominal discomfort, confusion, drowsiness and internal bleeding. It may be caused by a variety of conditions, but cirrhosis of the liver is the most common cause. Treatment is generally directed toward the cause of the condition, although emergency treatment is sometimes needed for serious complications.
Treatment for Portal Hypertension
Interventional radiologists at Silver Cross offer a variety of minimally invasive treatments, including portosystemic shunts for variceal bleeding and ascites. Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt or TIPS is a procedure that uses imaging guidance to connect the portal vein to the hepatic vein in the liver. A small metal device called a stent is placed to keep the connection open and allow it to bring blood draining from the bowel back to the heart while avoiding the liver. TIPS may successfully reduce internal bleeding in the stomach and esophagus in patients with cirrhosis.