Cirrhosis Complications: Variceal Bleeding
In people who have
When blood pressure increases in the portal vein system, veins in the
As the blood pressure in the portal vein system continues to increase, the walls of these expanded veins become thinner, causing the veins to rupture and bleed. This is called variceal bleeding.
Variceal bleeding can be a life-threatening emergency. After varices have bled once, there is a high risk of bleeding again. The chance of bleeding again is highest right after the first bleed stops and gradually goes down over the next 6 weeks. If varices are not treated, bleeding can lead to death.
Treatment for variceal bleeding can be challenging and may include medicines as well as endoscopic therapy (endoscopic banding or sclerotherapy). For more information, see:
The American College of Gastroenterology recommends endoscopic screening for varices for anyone who has been diagnosed with cirrhosis. If your first test does not find any varices, you can be tested again in 2 to 3 years.
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