Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Portal Hypertension
Portal hypertension is high blood pressure in the veins that filter
blood from the intestines through the liver (portal system of the liver). It
may cause complications such as fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity (ascites)
or enlarged veins (varices) in the esophagus or stomach.
Cirrhosis is a process that destroys the liver. In the United States, cirrhosis is the most common
cause of portal hypertension. Normally, blood from the
spleen and intestines is filtered through the liver by way of the portal vein.
But when the buildup of scar tissue caused by cirrhosis reduces the flow
of blood through the liver, pressure may build up in the portal vein. This causes
Portal hypertension is different from the high blood pressure
(systemic hypertension) that many people develop as they get older.
Current as of:
November 14, 2014
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & W. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
I Want To...
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.