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Definition:

Hepatic vein obstruction is a blockage of the hepatic vein, which carries blood away from the liver.



Alternative Names:

Budd-Chiari syndrome; Hepatic veno-occlusive disease



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Hepatic vein obstruction prevents blood from flowing out of the liver and back to the heart. This blockage can cause liver damage. Obstruction of this vein can be caused by a lump (tumor ) pressing on the vessel, or by a clot (thrombus ) in the vessel.

Most often, it is caused by conditions that make blood clots more likely to form, including:

  • Abnormal spread of cells from the bone marrow (myeloproliferative disorders)
  • Cancers
  • Chronic inflammatory or autoimmune diseases
  • Infections
  • Inherited (hereditary) or acquired problems with blood clotting
  • Oral contraceptives and pregnancy


Symptoms:
  • Pain on the right side of the abdomen
  • Vomiting blood
  • Yellowing of the skin (jaundice )


Signs and tests:

One of the signs is swelling of the abdomen from fluid build-up (ascites )

Tests include:



Treatment:

Treatment varies, depending on the cause of the blockage.

Medical treatments:

  • Blood-thinning (anticoagulation) medications
  • Clot-busting drugs (thrombolytic treatment)
  • Treatment for the liver disease, including ascites

Surgical treatments:



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):



Complications:

Hepatic vein obstruction can get worse and lead to liver failure, which can be life-threatening.



Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if:

  • You have symptoms of hepatic vein obstruction
  • You are being treated for this condition and you develop new symptoms


Prevention:



References:

Zimmerman MA, Cameron AM, Ghobrial RM. Budd-Chiari syndrome. Clin Liver Dis. 2006;10:259-273.




Review Date: 8/22/2008
Reviewed By: Christian Stone, MD, Division of Gastroenterology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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