A devascularization procedure aims to control bleeding from varices at the junction between the esophagus and stomach, towards the lower end of the esophagus.
Varices are enlarged veins that occur due to portal hypertension. Ideally, esophagogastric devascularization procedures control bleeding varices by permanently destroying the vessels in the esophagogastric region.
When do doctors recommend a devascularization procedure?
Portal hypertension, defined as blood pressure higher than 5 mmHg in the portal veins, is caused by cirrhosis or liver scarring.
A portal vein carries blood to the liver from the spleen, stomach, pancreas, and intestines. A portal pressure of 10 mmHg or higher is associated with an increased risk of gastroesophageal varices. Gastroesophageal varices are found in approximately 50% people with cirrhosis.
Doctors recommend a devascularization procedure when nonoperative therapies fail to prevent bleeding from the gastroesophageal varices. These therapies include:
- Endoscopic procedures
- Endoscopic variceal ligation
- Glue injection
- Interventional radiologic procedures
- Balloon-occluded retrograde transvenous obliteration
- Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt
Devascularization procedures are rarely the treatment of choice in emergencies. However, when nonsurgical procedures fail and radiologic therapies cannot be performed, devascularization procedures can help manage critical situations of variceal bleeding.
What happens before a devascularization procedure?
Before the procedure, your doctor will order tests, including a complete blood count, comprehensive metabolic panel, coagulation studies, liver function tests, and blood type.
A day before the surgery, your doctor may arrange blood units for transfusion. A tube called a nasogastric tube is inserted through the nose, down the throat and esophagus, and into the stomach. It can be used to give drugs, liquids, and liquid food or used to remove substances from the stomach.
What happens after a devascularization procedure?
You may be monitored in a surgical intensive care unit immediately after the operation. You may be kept on only intravenous fluids and not allowed to eat for at least 5 days after the procedure.
About 5-7 days after the devascularization procedure, you may undergo a contrast esophagography to check if there are problems such as leakage, fistula, or narrowing at the esophageal region where the surgery was performed. Contrast esophagography involves taking a series of X-ray pictures of the esophagus after you drink a liquid containing barium sulfate. If no problems are detected, your doctor may ask you to begin drinking clear liquids. Gradually, you will be advanced to a semi-solid and then normal diet.
Your doctor may ask you to undergo another diagnostic procedure known as esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) one month after the devascularization procedure. EGD involves inserting a long, thin, flexible tube (endoscope) fitted with a light and camera into your mouth that allows your doctor to examine your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (part of your small intestine). You will be asked to have regular follow-ups with your surgeon.
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Esophagogastric Devascularization. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1895379-overview
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Bleeding VaricesVarices are dilated blood vessels usually in the esophagus or stomach. Symptoms of bleeding varices include vomiting blood, black stools, low blood pressure, shock, and rapid heart rate. Bleeding varices are a medical emergency. Treatment may involve liver transplant, devascularization, distal splenorenal shunt, banding, sclerotherapy, or transjugular intrahepatic protosystemic shunt.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms.
Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure.
The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater.
If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.
REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
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Portal HypertensionPortal hypertension is most commonly caused by cirrhosis, a disease that results from scarring of the liver. Other causes of portal hypertension include blood clots in the portal vein, blockages of the veins that carry the blood from the liver to the heart, and a parasitic infection called schistosomiasis. Symptoms of portal hypertension include varices (enlarged veins), vomiting blood, blood in the stool, black and tarry stool, ascites (abnormal fluid collection within the peritoneum, the sac that contains the intestines within the abdominal cavity), confusion and lethargy, splenomegaly or enlargement of the spleen, and decreased white blood cell counts.
What Are the 4 Stages of Cirrhosis of the Liver?Learn the four stages of cirrhosis of the liver below.
What Are the First Signs of Cirrhosis?Here are ten early signs of liver cirrhosis, as well as other symptoms that may manifest as the condition worsens.
What Is the Main Cause of Esophageal Varices?Esophageal varices are enlarged veins in the food pipe (esophagus). This condition develops in people with liver disease.