Hepatic Vein Thrombosis

Hepatic Vein Thrombosis also known as Budd-Chiari syndrome is a condition that arises when occlusion occurs in the hepatic veins which drain the liver. It is a rare condition and occurs in about one person out of a million individuals. The condition arises out of acute or semi-acute blockage of hepatic veins in an individual. Fibrous webs and blood clots are the main causes of the blockage.

When the hepatic vein is obstructed, blood flow from the liver to the heart is prevented. This situation is very dangerous as it can lead to the liver being damaged. The growth of tumor which presses on the blood vessel can cause the blockage as well. In most cases, the clotting occurs when conditions that cause clotting thrive. Some of the conditions include cancers, pregnancy, use of oral contraceptives and certain infections.

Symptoms of the disease

Just like any other medical condition, attention should be sought as soon as possible. The main symptoms indicating the presence of the disease include swelling or stretching of the abdomen and vomiting blood. Pain in the upper part of the abdomen and yellowing of the skin also indicate the presence of the problem. The sooner treatment is sought; the easier it is to deal with the problem.

The swelling and pain in the abdomen result from the accumulation of fluids in the liver. This is because the liver is not drained since the vessels leading back to the heart are obstructed. For this reason, the liver swells and becomes tender to touch. These problems cannot be detected unless the patient seeks proper medical attention. If not treated in time, it can lead to life threatening liver failure.

Diagnosis of Hepatic Vein Thrombosis

In order to diagnose the problem properly, a physical examination and blood test have to be carried out. The doctor will press on the abdomen to locate the swollen liver. A sample of blood from the patient will be required to ensure the lover is functioning properly. If these tests show signs of a weakened liver, then, imaging tests will be recommended. When liver damage is noticed, liver biopsy may be necessary.

Treating HVT

Hepatic Vein Thrombosis can be treated using anti-clotting drugs called fibrinolytic drugs. Anticoagulants may be administered to prevent reoccurrence of the clotting in future. As part of the treatment, the doctor may select to widen the veins to improve blood flow. This will call for surgical procedure called percetaneous transluminal angioplasty.

A catheter is fed into the affected vein. Once it is inside the vein, it is inflated causing the widening of the vein. When the blood vessel is wide enough, a wire mesh is inserted which holds it open. This allows improved blood flow from the liver.

If HVT is not treated, it can lead to liver failure in the future. A patient who has this problem may die within three years unless a transplant is done. Surgical procedures used to treat the problems can lead to complications too. Treatment for the blocked blood vessel should be sought quickly as it could be fatal.