Portal Hypertension

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

Quick GuideHow to Lower Blood Pressure: Exercise Tips

How to Lower Blood Pressure: Exercise Tips

What are the complications of portal hypertension?

The complications of portal hypertension are the complications of liver failure. These include gastrointestinal bleeding from varices, ascites and hepatic encephalopathy. Splenomegaly can also cause anemia , low white blood cell counts, and low platelet counts.

Can portal hypertension be prevented?

Some liver diseases due to inborn errors of metabolism like copper and iron cannot be prevented. The same can be said with congenital anatomy problems. However, when liver disease is due to alcohol and drug abuse, prevention is a real possibility. Chronic alcoholism can lead to cirrhosis and portal hypertension. IV drug abuse can be the cause of hepatitis B and C, resulting in cirrhosis.

What is the prognosis for portal hypertension?

Portal hypertension is a complication of an underlying liver disease. It is a disease that can be controlled but requires patients to be compliant with dietary restrictions and to abstain from alcohol and drugs. Survival rates can be quite high as long as some liver function is maintained. The worse the liver function, the worse the prognosis

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


Garcia-Tsao G, Lim JK; Management and treatment of patients with cirrhosis and portal hypertension: Am J Gastroenterol. 2009 Jul;104(7):1802-29.

Ponziani FR, Zocco MA, Campanale C, et al; Portal vein thrombosis: insight into physiopathology, diagnosis, and treatment. World J Gastroenterol. 2010 Jan 14;16(2):143-55.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/6/2016

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Heart Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors