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Abstract

Morphologic alterations in the gastric microcirculation in cirrhosis were investigated following infusion of a silicone rubber compound into vessels of the excised stomach which was then cleared with methyl salicylate. In cirrhosis, arteriovenous anastomoses 15 to 50 jum in diameter were present in 5 of 10 patients; spiral arterioles were less than one-tenth as numerous as in stomachs from noncirrhotic patients. The arterioles mainly had a straight pattern and precapillaries, capillaries, and submucosal and subserosal veins were dilated in cirrhotics (p < 0.05). The number of arteriovenous anastomoses was unrelated to the degree of vascular dilatation and the number of spiral arterioles. These morphological alterations are consistent with decreased arteriovenous flow resistance in the stomach of cirrhotic patients.