Current Gastroenterology Reports

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 10-16

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Management of Portal Hypertension in Children

  • Elizabeth MiletiAffiliated withPediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, University of California, San Francisco
  • , Philip RosenthalAffiliated withPediatric Liver Transplant Program, Pediatric Hepatology, University of California, San Francisco Email author 


Management of portal hypertension in children has evolved over the past several decades. Portal hypertension can result from intrahepatic or extrahepatic causes. Management should be tailored to the child based on the etiology of the portal hypertension and on the functionality of the liver. The most serious complication of portal hypertension is gastroesophageal variceal bleeding, which has a mortality of up to 30%. Initial treatment of bleeding focuses on stabilizing the patient. Further treatment measures may include endoscopic, medical, or surgical interventions as appropriate for the child, depending on the cause of the portal hypertension. β-Blockers have not been proven to effectively prevent primary or secondary variceal bleeding in children. Sclerotherapy and variceal band ligation can be used to stop active bleeding and can prevent bleeding from occurring. Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunts and surgical shunts may be reserved for those who are not candidates for transplant or have refractory bleeding despite medical or endoscopic treatment.


Portal hypertension Pediatric Variceal hemorrhage Variceal ligation Sclerotherapy Balloon tamponade Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) Surgical shunts Octreotide β-Blockers Liver transplantation