blood flow through the damaged liver results in in-creased blood pressure (portal hypertension) throughout the
portal venous system. Although portal hypertension is commonly associated with
hepatic cirrhosis, it can also occur with noncir-rhotic liver disease. While
splenomegaly (enlarged spleen) with possible hypersplenism is a common
manifestation of portal hy-pertension, two major consequences of portal
hypertension are ascites and varices.
ascites, fluid accumulates in the abdominal cavity. Al-though ascites is often
a result of liver damage, it may also occur with disorders such as cancer,
kidney disease, and heart failure. Varices are varicosities that develop from
elevated pressures trans-mitted to all of the veins that drain into the portal
system. They are prone to rupture and often are the source of massive
hemor-rhages from the upper GI tract and the rectum. In addition, blood
clotting abnormalities, often seen in patients with severe liver disease,
increase the likelihood of bleeding.