Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Risk Factors Symptoms Evaluation Treatment questions for doctor specialist surgery Home Care liver diet taking control warning signs Complications Underlying Cause Anatomy

Abnormal Veins in the Esophagus Overview

Another name for Abnormal Veins in the Esophagus is Esophageal Varices.

What are esophageal varices?
A person with esophageal varices has abnormally enlarged veins in the lower esophagus and upper part of the stomach. Esophageal varices are usually caused by liver failure, cirrhosis, or other conditions that result in reduced blood flow through the liver. This causes blood to back-up into veins in the esophagus and stomach forming varices. The enlargement causes the walls of the veins to stretch and become fragile. Severe gastrointestinal bleeding can occur if the veins rupture.

What are the symptoms of esophageal varices?
Symptoms of esophageal varices may include difficulty swallowing, vomiting blood, blood in the stool, black stool, and red or maroon stool. Chronic blood loss may cause symptoms of anemia.

How does the doctor treat esophageal varices?
Treatment for esophageal varices involves reducing the risk of bleeding from the varices. Treatment for esophageal varices includes avoidance of alcohol, medications to reduce the risk of bleeding, and surgical procedures to stop variceal bleeding.

Continue to Abnormal Veins in the Esophagus Incidence

Last Updated: Feb 8, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
Copyright DSHI Systems, Inc. Powered by: FreeMD - Your Virtual Doctor

PubMed Abnormal Veins in the Esophagus References
  1. Biecker E, Schepke M, Sauerbruch T. The role of endoscopy in portal hypertension. Dig Dis. 2005;23(1):11-7. [15920321]
  2. D'Amico G, Pagliaro L, Bosch J. Pharmacological treatment of portal hypertension: an evidence-based approach. Semin Liver Dis. 1999;19(4):475-505. [10643630]
  3. Grace ND. Diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal bleeding secondary to portal hypertension. American College of Gastroenterology Practice Parameters Committee. Am J Gastroenterol. 1997 Jul;92(7):1081-91. [9219775]
  4. Hegab AM, Luketic VA. Bleeding esophageal varices. How to treat this dreaded complication of portal hypertension. Postgrad Med. 2001 Feb;109(2):75-6, 81-6, 89. [11272695]
  5. Schmitz RJ, Sharma P, Badr AS, Qamar MT, Weston AP. Incidence and management of esophageal stricture formation, ulcer bleeding, perforation, and massive hematoma formation from sclerotherapy versus band ligation. Am J Gastroenterol. 2001 Feb;96(2):437-41. [11232687]
  6. Shahi HM, Sarin SK. Prevention of first variceal bleed: an appraisal of current therapies. Am J Gastroenterol. 1998 Dec;93(12):2348-58. [9860391]
FreeMD is provided for information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for evaluation and treatment by a physician. Please review our terms of use.