Health Questions and Answers

Question: What are the possible causes of esophageal varices?

Answer:

Elevation of pressure in the hepatic portal system leads to the development of varices. The normal portal venous pressure is ∼ 10 mmHg but increases to > 20 mmHg in portal hypertension. The causes of portal hypertension are classified as presinusoidal, sinusoidal, and postsinusoidal. The most common cause in the Western world is alcohol-related cirrhosis.

Reference:  Sleisenger MH, Fordtran JS (eds): Gastrointestinal Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Management, 7th ed. Philadelphia, W.B. Saunders, 2003.

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