esophagealvarices

What is esophageal varices?


The most serious complication of esophageal varices is bleeding. Once you have had a bleeding episode, you're at greatly increased risk of another, especially immediately following the first episode.

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Esophageal varices

Serious liver diseases such as cirrhosis can cause a number of complications, including esophageal varices abnormally enlarged veins in the lower part of your esophagus, the tube that connects your throat and stomach.

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Bleeding esophageal varices

Bleeding esophageal varices occur when veins in the walls of the lower part of the esophagus and sometimes the upper part of the stomach are wider than normal (dilated).

Read more on www.nlm.nih.gov

Oesophageal cancer

Although it is not possible to prevent all cases of cancer of the oesophagus, there are ways you can help reduce the risk of developing the condition.

Read more on www.nhs.uk

Cancer of the Esophagus

The esophagus is a muscular tube measuring 20-25 cm (8-10 in) long and 2-3 cm (0.75-1.25 in) wide that serves as a conduit for moving food and drink from the mouth to the stomach. Two major types of esophageal cancers exist, as follows: Squamous cell carcinoma arises from the epithelial cells that line the esophagus. Adenocarcinoma arises from the esophageal glands or within a segment of Barrett esophagus. Most tumors occur in the lower esophagus. Forty percent occur in the lowest third. Forty-five percent occur in the middle third. Fifteen percent occur in the upper third.

Esophageal cancer

The esophagus is a hollow tube that connects the throat to the stomach. In an adult, the esophagus is approximately ten inches long and about an inch in diameter at its narrowest point. When a person swallows, muscles that line the walls of the esophagus contract, forcing food and liquid into the stomach. Glands in the esophagus produce mucus that lubricates this passageway and makes swallowing easier.

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Esophageal varices - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In medicine (gastroenterology), esophageal varices are extremely dilated sub-mucosal veins in the lower esophagus. They are most often a consequence of ...

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Esophageal Varices: eMedicine Gastroenterology

May 19, 2010 ... Overview: The portal vein carries approximately 1500 mL/min of blood from the small and large bowel, the spleen, and the stomach to the ...

Read more on emedicine.medscape.com

Bleeding esophageal varices on MedicineNet.com

Mar 19, 2011 ... Information about bleeding varices in the esophagus or stomach includes symptoms, treatment, and prevention on MedicineNet.com.

Read more on www.medicinenet.com

Esophageal Varices - InteliHealth:

Jul 10, 2008 ... Features symptoms, diagnosis, duration, prevention, treatment, and prognosis.

Read more on www.intelihealth.com

Esophageal varices Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatments and Causes ...

Jan 26, 2011 ... Esophageal varices information including symptoms, diagnosis, misdiagnosis, treatment, causes, patient stories, videos, forums, prevention, ...

Read more on www.wrongdiagnosis.com

Contents

Causes
Illustration showing esophageal varices

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Preparing for your appointment
You're likely to start by first seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner for signs or symptoms of liver disease or another condition that can lead to esophageal varices. However, in some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be told to immediately call 911 or your local emergency number to be taken to the hospital for urgent care. There you will be evaluated by a digestive disorders specialist called a gastroenterologist.

Read more on www.mayoclinic.com
Prevention
It's not always possible to prevent esophageal varices in people with liver disease or portal hypertension. But treating the underlying problem alcohol abuse, iron overload, or exposure to toxic chemicals, for instance is of primary importance. Equally important is the use of beta blockers or other medications to prevent increased blood pressure in the portal vein.

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Risk factors
Although many people with advanced liver disease develop esophageal varices, less than half experience bleeding. Varices are more likely to bleed if you have: High portal vein pressure. The risk of bleeding increases with the amount of pressure in the portal vein. Large varices. The larger the varices, the more likely they are to bleed. Red marks on the varices. When viewed through an endoscope a lighted, fiber-optic instrument some varices show long, red streaks or red spots. These marks indicate a high risk of bleeding. Severe cirrhosis or liver failure. Most often, the more severe your liver disease, the more likely varices are to bleed. Fluid buildup. Liver disease can cause large amounts...

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Symptoms
About one-third of people with esophageal varices will develop bleeding. The signs and symptoms of esophageal bleeding range from mild to severe and include: Vomiting blood; Black, tarry or bloody stools; Decreased urination from unusually low blood pressure; Excessive thirst; Lightheadedness; Shock, in severe cases

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Tests and diagnosis
If you have cirrhosis or other serious liver disease, your doctor may screen you for esophageal varices, sometimes as often as every year or two. These tests are usually used to look for varices: Endoscopy. For this test, your doctor inserts a thin, flexible, lighted tube (endoscope) through your mouth and into your esophagus. If any dilated veins are found, they're graded according to their size and checked for red streaks, which usually indicate a significant risk of bleeding. An esophageal endoscopy takes about 20 to 30 minutes, and the risks are generally minor. The most common side effect is a sore throat from swallowing the endoscope. Imaging tests. Both computerized tomography (CT)...

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Treatments and drugs
The primary aim in treating esophageal varices is to prevent bleeding. To help achieve this goal, doctors usually prescribe high blood pressure drugs (beta blockers) to reduce pressure in the portal vein once your initial episode of bleeding has resolved. Other drugs may be used for people who don't respond to beta blockers or who have severe side effects. Sometimes the varices may be injected directly with a solution that causes them to shrink. Or they may be tied with elastic bands before they have a chance to bleed.

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