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Portal Hypertension
in Denver

What is Portal Hypertension?

Portal hypertension occurs when there is an increase in pressure within the vein that carries blood from the digestive organs to the liver (the portal vein). This pressure is caused by a blockage in the flow of blood through the liver. The most common causes of portal hypertension are cirrhosis of the liver and thrombosis.

Common symptoms associated with portal hypertension include:

  • Ascites, or a buildup of fluid in the abdomen.
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • Encephalopathy, or confusion caused by poor liver function and blood flowing away from your liver.
  • A reduced level of platelets or white blood cells.

How is Portal Hypertension Diagnosed?

If you are experiencing symptoms associated with portal hypertension, your doctor may have you undergo various tests for diagnosis. These may include endoscopy, X-rays or lab tests. For more information regarding diagnosis, please contact our office today.

The front staff was immediately attentive as soon as I walked in. The nurses and PAs were professional and very nice, and the doctors were even better. The procedure went smoothly and could not have gone better. Of course, having positive lab results makes it easier to post a glowing report but I got the impression that if I had been diagnosed differently, they would have taken care of me with the same kindness and dedication.

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It is never pleasant to have gastro problems, however, the staff at your office from top to bottom have been very accommodating. They take a personal interest in your condition and imagine this; THEY RETURN PHONE MESSAGES PROMPTLY. I'm not completely better yet but have total confidence they will get me there. I highly recommend this practice.

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Portal Hypertension Treatment Options

In many cases, portal hypertension can be managed through a number of different treatments and techniques. Once bleeding has stabilized, the treatment option that is right for you will be prescribed based on your symptoms and how well your liver is working.


Medications to lower the pressure in enlarged veins in the esophagus or stomach may be prescribed, including beta-blockers or octreotide.

Endoscopic Therapy

There is a selection of endoscopic treatments that can be performed to manage a variceal hemorrhage, including banding and balloon tamponade. Banding is more commonly used and involves placing small elastic rings over the vein. The rings hinder blood supply to each varix. Balloon tamponade is used to control more severe bleeding by compressing the vein.

Shunting Procedures

Another way to control acute bleeding is through shunting procedures. There are two main shunting procedures performed for portal hypertension, including a nonsurgical transjugular intrahepatic portal systemic shunt (TIPSS), or surgical shunts.

Liver Transplantation

During this option, the diseased liver is replaced with a healthy donor liver. Liver transplantation is the only effective treatment for cirrhosis and portal hypertension.

Your South Denver GI Team

At South Denver GI, our team of physicians and advanced practice providers have the expertise to provide you with outstanding care. If you would like to learn more about Portal Hypertension or need to schedule an appointment at our office, contact us today!

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Request Appointment

Click on the Schedule Appointment button to schedule an appointment with your South Denver GI provider online. If you do not wish to use our convenient online scheduling tool, please fill out the form below and our team will contact you shortly.