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Am J Med Sci. 2008 Dec;336(6):489-97. doi: 10.1097/MAJ.0b013e318176abe9.

Causes and consequences of systemic venous hypertension.

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Department of Radiology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee 38163, USA.


The causes of systemic venous hypertension (SVHT) include cardiac- and circulatory-related factors, whereas its consequences include the congestion of hepatic, splanchnic, and peripheral circulations, which contribute significantly to the clinical congestive heart failure syndrome. Based on a disequilibrium in hydrostatic and oncotic pressures, the increased filtration and formation of interstitial fluid at these sites with an accompanying increase in lymph flow mandates an increment in lymphatic drainage to protect against such congestion and the appearance of edema and ascites. However, lymph flow via the thoracic duct into systemic veins is opposed by elevations in central venous pressure. Various management strategies have the potential to prevent and/or correct SVHT. The case of a 54-year-old man with a dilated cardiomyopathy who presented with decompensated biventricular failure, expressed as anasarca and ascites, is used to illustrate the importance of SVHT.

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