Portal Hypertension: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 5/19/2021

Portal hypertension is a condition characterized by elevated pressure within the portal venous system, including the portal vein that carries blood to the liver and its smaller branches.

Signs and symptoms of portal hypertension are related to the backup of pressure within the venous system. These can include varices, or enlarged veins, in the esophagus or stomach. Varices can cause vomiting blood or black, tarry stool. Other associated symptoms can include

Causes of portal hypertension

Any condition that causes obstruction of blood flow through the liver, including cirrhosis, fatty liver, and other diseases of the liver tissue, can cause portal hypertension. Conditions outside the liver, including thrombosis or blood clot formation, can also cause portal hypertension.

Other portal hypertension symptoms and signs


Pancreatitis is inflammation of an organ in the abdomen called the pancreas. See Answer

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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.