What Is Esophageal Varices?

Esophageal Varices are the abnormal enlargement of the veins located in the esophagus. The esophagus is a pipe connecting the esophagus and stomach. Varicose veins occur when the venous valve is weakened or damaged and the vein wall becomes tenuous. Meanwhile, esophageal varices will occur when blood flow to the liver is blocked by clotting or scarring of the liver. Blockage is what triggers the flow of blood to the small blood vessels around it.

If the small blood vessels break and cause bleeding, this complication is very dangerous and can be fatal. The size of varicose veins and the risk of bleeding is affected by blood pressure in the liver portal system.

Symptoms of Varicose Esophagus
In general, esophageal varices do not cause symptoms. However, when the blood vessel leaks or breaks and bleeds, the person with Esophageal Esophageus will experience:
  • Stomach ache.
  • Vomiting blood with a significant volume.
  • The stool is black, like tar, and with blood.
  • Pain while swallowing.
  • Experiencing symptoms of liver disorders, such as jaundice, easy bleeding or bruising, and accumulation of fluid in the stomach.
  • Pale.
  • Hypotension.
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Decrease in urine volume.
  • Dazed and even lost consciousness.
If you experience any of these symptoms (especially indications of liver disease), consult a physician immediately for a definite diagnosis and careful handling.

While bleeding in esophageal varices includes a potentially life-threatening emergency medical condition. Therefore, this condition should be treated as soon as possible in the hospital.

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Causes and Risk Factors of Varicose Eesophageus
Esophageal varices caused by portal hypertension, ie high blood pressure in the portal vein that carries blood to the liver. This pressure will cause blood to flow into other smaller blood vessels that can not accommodate large amounts of blood. This can cause blood vessels to burst and harmful to the sufferer. There are a number of factors and health conditions that can lead to portal hypertension. Examples include:
  • Complications of various liver disorders, such as portal vein thrombosis, cirrhosis, acute hepatitis, and congenital hepatic fibrosis. Most esophageal varices occur in people with chronic liver disease.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Long-term alcohol consumption.
  • Increased pressure in the stomach.
  • Consumption of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Bacterial infection.

Diagnosis of Varicose Eesophage
All people with liver disorders, especially cirrhosis, are advised to undergo routine checkups. In addition to preventing, this step also serves to detect the presence of esophageal varices as early as possible. Some of the possible checkup methods may be:
  • Endoscopy.
  • CT scan and ultrasound on the abdomen.
  • Chest x-rays.
  • Blood tests to check the number of hemoglobin and platelets.

Treatment of Varicose Eesophage
The primary goal of treating esophageal varices is to prevent bleeding. Lowering blood pressure in the portal vein is a major step in this treatment. Here are some ways doctors might recommend:
  • Drugs to lower the pressure on the portal vein , such as beta blockers.
  • Binding of varicose veins . Doctors will use a special rubber band to bind varicose veins.
In case of bleeding, the patient needs emergency treatment at the hospital. Medical treatment steps to address this condition include:
  • Binding of varicose veins using a special rubber band.
  • Drugs to slow the flow of blood to the portal vein .
  • Redirects blood flow from the portal vein via the Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt (TIPS) procedure if the bleeding of the varicose is not sufficient to overcome the bleeding.
  • Sclerotherapy , which is the process of injecting the blood-clotting fluid directly into the varicose veins.
  • Blood transfusion to replace wasted blood while controlling bleeding.
  • Prevent infection with antibiotics.
  • Surgical removal of bleeding varicose veins . This is done if TIPS is not effective.
  • Surgical procedure in the esophagus . In this operation, the esophagus will be slashed and then closed again after the bleeding varicose has been removed.
  • Liver transplant for people with advanced liver disease.

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