Budd-Chiari syndrome (patient information)
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Budd-Chiari syndrome On the Web
What are the symptoms of Budd-Chiari syndrome?
- Abdominal swelling or stretching
- Pain in the right upper abdomen
- Vomiting blood
- Yellowing of the skin (jaundice)
What causes Budd-Chiari syndrome?
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:
- Abnormal growth of cells in the bone marrow (myeloproliferative disorders)
- Chronic inflammatory or autoimmune diseases
- Inherited (hereditary) or acquired problems with blood clotting
- Oral contraceptives
Tests include the following:
- CT scan or MRI of the abdomen
- Doppler ultrasound of the liver veins
- Liver biopsy
- Liver function tests
- Ultrasound of the liver
When to seek urgent medical care?
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
Treatment varies, depending on the cause of the blockage.
Recommendations include the following medicines:
- Blood-thinners (anticoagulants)
- Clot-busting drugs (thrombolytic treatment)
- Medicines to treat liver disease, including ascites
Surgery may be recommended. This may involve:
- Angioplasty and stent placement
- Liver transplant
- Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS)
- Venous shunt surgery
Where to find medical care for Budd-Chiari syndrome?
Hepatic vein obstruction can get worse and lead to liver failure, which can be life-threatening.