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Non-cirrhotic portal fibrosis


Dr S.K. Sarin, Professor and Head, Department of Gastroenterology, G.B. Pant Hospital, New Delhi, India. Email:


Abstract Non-cirrhotic portal hypertension (NCPH) comprises of diseases having an increase in portal pressure (PP) due to intraheptic or prehepatic lesions, in the absence of cirrhosis. The lesions are generally vascular, either in the portal vein, its branches or in the perisinusoidal area. Because the wedged hepatic venous pressure (WHVP) is near normal, measurement of intravariceal or intrasplenic pressure is needed to assess portal pressure. The majority of the diseases included in the category of NCPH are well characterized disease entities where portal hypertension (PHT) is a late manifestation and hence, these are not discussed. Two diseases which present only with features of PHT and are common in developing countries are NCPF and extra-hepatic portal vein obstruction (EHPVO). Non-cirrhotic portal fibrosis is a syndrome of obscure etiology, characterized by ‘Obliterative portovenopathy’ leading to PHT, massive splenomegaly, repeated well tolerated episodes of variceal bleeding and anemia in young adults from low socio-economic strata of life. The hepatic parenchymal functions are nearly normal. Jaundice, ascites and hepatic encephalopathy are rare. Management of variceal bleeding remains the main concern as nearly 85% of patients with NCPF present with variceal bleeding. Endoscopic variceal ligation or sclerotherapy are equally effective in about 90–95% of the patients. Gastric varices are seen in about 25% patients and a bleed from them can be managed with cyanoacrylate glue injection or surgery. Other indications for surgery include failure of endoscopic therapy to control acute bleed and symptomatic hypersplenism. The prognosis of patients with NCPF is good and 5-years survival rates in patients in whom variceal bleeding can be controlled is about > 95%.

© 2002 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd