• Open Access

Portal Hypertension: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment


  • The literature review was undertaken at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. No primary research was conducted. The summarized data have not appeared at any meeting.

Corresponding author: Cynthia R.L. Webster, DVM, DACVIM, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, 200 Westboro Road, North Grafton, MA 01536; e-mail: cynthia.leveille_webster@tufts.edu.


Portal hypertension (PH) is the result of increased vascular resistance in the portal circulation, increased portal venous blood flow, or both. In veterinary medicine, where portal pressure is seldom measured directly, the diagnosis of PH often is inferred from identification of associated complications including multiple acquired portosystemic shunts, ascites, and hepatic encephalopathy. Likewise, treatment of PH primarily is aimed at controlling these complications. The goal of this review is to provide an update on the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of PH. The review draws from information in the veterinary hepatology literature, reviews, and consensus statements in human hepatology and the literature on experimental models of PH.