Pathology of the Gastrointestinal Tract

2017 Edition
| Editors: Fátima Carneiro, Paula Chaves, Arzu Ensari


  • Isadora RosaEmail author
  • António Dias Pereira
Reference work entry


Plural of varix


Varices are pathologically dilated veins. In the digestive system, they are more common in the esophagus or stomach and usually secondary to portal hypertension. They are mostly asymptomatic unless they rupture and bleed.

The portal venous system carries blood from the spleen and digestive system to the liver, where it converges with hepatic artery-derived blood flow in the hepatic sinusoids. If the pressure in these specialized vascular channels increases to 6 mmHg or above, portal hypertension will occur.

Portal hypertension may be due to an increase in portal flow and/or in portal resistance. The increased resistance may be posthepatic, as in Budd-Chiari syndrome; intrahepatic, as in liver cirrhosis; or prehepatic, as in portal vein thrombosis. Cirrhosis is the most common cause of portal hypertension in the western world. Whatever the cause, portal hypertension leads to the expansion of portal vein-systemic collaterals and to reversion of the...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Further Reading

  1. de Franchis, R., & Baveno, V. Faculty. (2010). Revising consensus in portal hypertension: Report of the Baveno V consensus workshop on methodology of diagnosis and therapy in portal hypertension. Journal of Hepatology, 53, 762–768.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. de Franchis, R., & Primignani, M. (2001). Natural history of portal hypertension in patients with cirrhosis. Clinics in Liver Disease, 5, 645–663.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. de Franchis, R., Pascal, J. P., Ancona, E., Burroughs, A. K., Henderson, M., Fleig, W., Groszmann, R., Bosch, J., Sauerbruch, T., Soederlund, C., et al. (1992). Definitions, methodology and therapeutic strategies in portal hypertension. A Consensus Development Workshop. Journal of Hepatology, 15, 256–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Sarin, S. K., Lahoti, D., Saxena, S. P., Murthi, N. S., & Makwane, U. K. (1992). Relation between portal pressure response to pharmacotherapy and risk of recurrent variceal haemorrhage in patients with cirrhosis. Lancet, 346, 1056–1059.Google Scholar
  5. Toubia, N., & Sanyal, A. J. (2008). Portal hypertension and variceal hemorrhage. The Medical Clinics of North America, 92, 551–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto Português de Oncologia de Lisboa Francisco Gentil, E.P.E.LisboaPortugal