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J Gastroenterol. 2000;35(2):79-86.

Does portal hypertension contribute to the pathogenesis of gastric ulcer associated with liver cirrhosis?

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  • 1First Department of Surgery, Oita Medical University, Hasama-machi, Japan.


The prevalence of gastric ulcers in patients with liver cirrhosis is increased compared with that in the general population, and portal hypertension may contribute to the increased risk of gastric ulcer in cirrhosis patients. Aggressive factors involved in the pathogenesis of gastric ulcer are diminished in association with portal hypertension. In contrast, most of the important gastric mucosal defense mechanisms are shown to be impaired in portal hypertension; many of these mechanisms are also found to be altered in patients with liver cirrhosis. Portal hypotensive treatment with propranolol reduces ethanol-induced gastric mucosal damage in portal hypertensive rats and improves endoscopic signs of portal hypertensive gastropathy in cirrhosis patients. Together, these findings suggest portal hypertension-induced impairment of the gastric mucosal defenses to be an important factor in the pathogenesis of gastric ulcer in patients with liver cirrhosis. Prospective studies of portal pressure-reducing procedures, such as pharmacotherapy with propranolol, and their effect on the incidence of gastric ulcer in cirrhosis patients are needed to confirm this suggestion.

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