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Int J Hepatol. 2012;2012:895787. doi: 10.1155/2012/895787. Epub 2012 May 15.

Pathophysiology of portal hypertension and esophageal varices.

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Department of Medicine and Clinical Oncology, Chiba University, Graduate School of Medicine, 1-8-1, Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba 260-8670, Japan.


Esophageal varices are the major complication of portal hypertension. It is detected in about 50% of cirrhosis patients, and approximately 5-15% of cirrhosis patients show newly formed varices or worsening of varices each year. The major therapeutic strategy of esophageal varices consists of primary prevention, treatment for bleeding varices, and secondary prevention, which are provided by pharmacological, endoscopic, interventional and surgical treatments. Optimal management of esophageal varices requires a clear understanding of the pathophysiology and natural history. In this paper, we outline the current knowledge and future prospect in the pathophysiology of esophageal varices and portal hypertension.

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