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Hepatic vein obstruction (Budd-Chiari)

Budd-Chiari syndrome; Hepatic veno-occlusive disease

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

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Digestive system
Digestive system organs
Blood clot formation
Blood clots
Hepatic venous circulation

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Causes

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 tumor or growth pressing on the vessel, or by a clot in the vessel (hepatic vein thrombosis).

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

Hepatic vein blockage is the most common cause of Budd-Chiari syndrome.

Symptoms

Symptoms include:

Exams and Tests

One of the signs is swelling of the abdomen from fluid buildup (ascites). The liver is often swollen and tender.

Tests include:

Treatment

Treatment varies, depending on the cause of the blockage.

Your health care provider may recommend the following medicines:

Surgery may be recommended. This may involve:

Possible Complications

Hepatic vein obstruction can get worse and lead to cirrhosis and liver failure. This can be life threatening.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if:

Related Information

Hepatic
Tumor
Blood clots
Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS)
Stent

References

Kahi CJ. Vascular diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 134.

Nery FG, Valla DC. Vascular diseases of the liver. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 85.

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Review Date: 5/27/2020  

Reviewed By: Jenifer K. Lehrer, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Aria - Jefferson Health Torresdale, Jefferson Digestive Diseases Network, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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