ABC Medical Center > Padecimientos > Esophageal varices

Esophageal varices

21:56 - 4 May , 2021

Disease

What is Esophageal varices?

It is a condition in which the veins around the esophagus dilate due to excess blood flow from the stomach, which, unable to reach the heart, seeks other escape routes. These veins can break and bleed. Here are some of the reasons why esophageal varices can develop:
  • Alterations in blood coagulation.
  • Serious liver diseases (hepatitis, cancer, cirrhosis, fatty liver, and primary biliary cirrhosis).
  • Schistosomiasis, which is a parasitic infection that can affect the liver and other organs.
  • Portal vein thrombosis.
Esophageal varices may bleed due to any of the following:
  • Uninterrupted alcohol consumption.
  • Portal hypertension.
  • Liver failure.
  • Cirrhosis.
  • Red streaks or dots in varicose veins.
  • Large varicose veins.

Symptoms

Esophageal varices usually do not cause symptoms, except when they rupture and cause bleeding, causing the following: 
  • Anemia.
  • Ascites (accumulation of fluid in the abdomen).
  • Lethargy.
  • Dark or bloody stools.
  • Bruising.
  • Jaundice.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Abundant blood vomiting.
The biggest risk is bleeding because if you have one, you will likely have another. So if you lose a lot of blood, you might go into shock and die.

Diagnosis and treatment

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, they will perform a physical examination and request imaging studies such as:
  • Doppler ultrasound.
  • Gastrointestinal endoscopy.
  • Computed tomography of the abdomen.
The basic treatment consists of avoiding acute gastrointestinal bleeding by:
  • Complete alcohol abstention.
  • Placing bands on varices through an esophagoscopy.
  • Beta-blockers.
If bleeding has occurred, the important thing is to stop it and reverse the effects of blood loss by:
  • Elastic bands to hold bleeding veins.
  • Diversion of blood carried by the portal vein.
  • Medications to slow blood flow in the portal vein.
  • Pressure on the varices to stop the bleeding.
  • Blood transfusions to recover the lost volume.
  • Liver transplant.
You may be given antibiotics because there is a risk of infection. At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.

Fuentes:

  • worldgastroenterology.org
  • middlesexhealth.org
  • medlineplus.gov
  • mayoclinic.org
  • msdmanuals.com
  • topdoctors.es
  • medigraphic.com
  • Moreira BOM, Rodríguez FZ, Manzano HE, et al. Conocimientos vigentes en torno a la hemorragia digestiva alta varicosa. Rev Cub Med Mil. 2018;47(3):1-13.
  • Becerra IMÁ, Padrón AG, Manrique MA, et al. Ligadura endoscópica de várices esofágicas en el Servicio de Endoscopia del Hospital Juárez de México. Rev Hosp Jua Mex. 2000;67(4):157-163.
  • Ramírez-Del Pilar R, Yáñez-Montes MC, Enríquez-Peregrino KG, et al. Correlation between platelet/spleen index and esophageal varices degree. Med Int Mex. 2017;33(3):344-350.
  • Martínez LFY, Hidalgo ÁM, Galbán GJA, et al. Clinical-evolutionary relationship of patients with liver cirrhosis and esophageal varices treated with propranolol for the prevention of gastrointestinal bleeding. Mediciego. 2016;22(Suppl: 1):1-12.

						
The dissemination of the content of this material is for informational purposes only and does not replace, under any circumstance or condition, a consultation with a specialist doctor, for which the ABC Medical Center is not responsible for the different use that may be given to it. If you require more information related to the subject, we suggest you contact the specialist doctor you trust directly.