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A Brief Introduction to Budd-Chiari Syndrome- What Exactly Do We Mean by Hepatic Vein Thrombosis?

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Hepatic veins transport the deoxygenated as well as the filtered blood out of the liver and into the vena cava. Hepatic Vein Thrombosis is a condition that rises out of an obstructed hepatic vein.


Picture this- your liver has one drainage tube that takes all the oxygen-depleted blood away, thus keeping the organ safe from the toxic bad blood. If this drainage gets blocked, the blood won’t be able to reach the heart and replenish itself with oxygen. The flow of blood between your heart and liver would get impeded. Your liver won’t get fresh oxygen anymore. It could cause severe damage to the organ, lead to liver failure, and can very well be fatal.

What Causes Budd-Chiari Syndrome?

One of the leading causes of this condition, which has been named after physicist George Budd and pathologist Hans Chiari, is a blood clot. Blood problems, liver cancer, sudden trauma to the liver, and autoimmune, inflammatory, vein inflammation, or connective tissue disorders can contribute to the formation of a clot.

Particular medications like birth control pills and immunosuppressants can also lead to hepatic vein thrombosis. If you are pregnant, getting all your meds and any supplements you take checked for blood clot forming elements is the best practice.

Hepatic Vein Thrombosis Is a Silent Enemy

The symptoms of Budd-Chiari aren’t visible in every patient. Notably, in the early stages, this condition can pass through unnoticed. Often, the symptoms differ for different people.

Some patients begin spotting signs like abdominal fluid buildup or an enlarged liver after HVT has spread a good enough deal. However, many cases are only diagnosed after moderate to advanced liver damage has occurred.

If you experience nausea, vomiting, swollen limbs, signs of jaundice, weight loss for no reason, or constant pain in the upper right section of your abdomen, visit a doctor as soon as possible.

Diagnosis and Treatment for Hepatic Vein Thrombosis

After the initial physical exam, Budd-Chiari is often diagnosed with the help of ultrasound, CT scan, and in extreme cases, with a biopsy. You may be asked to go through a hepatic vein catheterization to look at the pressure status inside your hepatic veins.

The treatment may begin with medications like anticoagulants to prevent the blood from clotting and fibrinolytic drugs to dissolve the existing blood clots. In cases where doctors need to improve blood flow, they may suggest surgery, also called the percutaneous transluminal angioplasty, to widen the hepatic vein.

Recovery and Prognosis Post-Treatment for Budd-Chiari Symptom

Complete relief depends on the location of the vein-obstructing clot, the stage of hepatic vein thrombosis at the time of your diagnosis, the kind of treatment you received, and the cause behind your condition.

Since this condition is seldom diagnosed in the early stages, the treatment often becomes a tough fight. Also, the liver falls in grave danger by the time hepatic vein thrombosis advances to its final stage. However, treating the underlying causes and getting early care for Budd-Chiari syndrome increases the chances of full recovery.

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  1. R. Allen Hewlett October 14, 2017 07:15 am

    A fine job indeed. Very clear and informative. I'm getting some good training. Thank you !

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