Abnormal Veins in the Esophagus Underlying Cause
The portal vein carries nutrient rich blood from the intestines to the liver, which processes the nutrients. The veins around the lower esophagus and stomach empty into the portal vein.
Liver disease, such as hepatitis or cirrhosis, can obstruct the flow of blood through the liver. This causes blood to back-up into the portal vein, as well as the veins that supply the portal vein. In turn, this causes enlargement of the veins in the esophagus and stomach. The enlargement causes the walls of the veins to stretch and become thin. Severe bleeding can occur if the veins rupture.
Continue to Abnormal Veins in the Esophagus Anatomy
- Biecker E, Schepke M, Sauerbruch T. The role of endoscopy in portal hypertension. Dig Dis. 2005;23(1):11-7. 
- D'Amico G, Pagliaro L, Bosch J. Pharmacological treatment of portal hypertension: an evidence-based approach. Semin Liver Dis. 1999;19(4):475-505. 
- 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. 
- 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. 
- 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. 
- Shahi HM, Sarin SK. Prevention of first variceal bleed: an appraisal of current therapies. Am J Gastroenterol. 1998 Dec;93(12):2348-58.