Portal Hypertension

Definition: Increased pressure in the hepatic portal venous system. Pressure in the portal vein is usually 10 to 15 cm H2O, but is >30 cm H2O in portal hypertension.

Clinical features:

  1. splenomegaly,
  2. ascites,
  3. distended abdominal veins (± caput medusae),
  4. portosystemic encephalopathy.
Often patients present with only splenomegaly. Oesophageal varices are pathognomic, but can only be diagnosed endoscopically.