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Abstract  Portal hypertension occurs in a number of disorders other than cirrhosis and they are collectively called non-cirrhotic portal hypertension (NCPH). The common causes of NCPH include idiopathic portal hypertension (IPH), non-cirrhotic portal fibrosis (NCPF) and extrahepatic portal venous thrombosis (EHPVT). Other causes include schistosomiasis, hepatic venous outflow tract obstruction, veno-occlusive disease and congenital hepatic fibrosis. Patients with IPH and EHPVT present with upper gastrointestinal bleeding, splenomegaly, ascites after gastrointestinal bleeding, features of hypersplenism, growth retardation and jaundice due to portal biliopathy. The diagnosis is usually made by abdominal ultrasound, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, normal liver function tests and normal liver histology. Variceal bleeding in NCPH has lower mortality as compared with cirrhosis because of better liver functions in NCPH. Treatment for NCPH includes primary prophylaxis for variceal bleeding and prevention of repeat bleeding using drugs like β-blockers, endoscopic sclerotherapy and endoscopic band ligation of varices. In patients with uncontrolled variceal bleeding or symptomatic hypersplenism, porto-systemic shunt surgery or splenectomy are required.

© 2002 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd