Management of Portal Hypertension in Children

University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143-0136, USA.
Current Gastroenterology Reports 10/2010; 13(1):10-6. DOI: 10.1007/s11894-010-0151-y
Source: PubMed


Management of portal hypertension in children has evolved over the past several decades. Portal hypertension can result from intrahepatic or extrahepatic causes. Management should be tailored to the child based on the etiology of the portal hypertension and on the functionality of the liver. The most serious complication of portal hypertension is gastroesophageal variceal bleeding, which has a mortality of up to 30%. Initial treatment of bleeding focuses on stabilizing the patient. Further treatment measures may include endoscopic, medical, or surgical interventions as appropriate for the child, depending on the cause of the portal hypertension. β-Blockers have not been proven to effectively prevent primary or secondary variceal bleeding in children. Sclerotherapy and variceal band ligation can be used to stop active bleeding and can prevent bleeding from occurring. Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunts and surgical shunts may be reserved for those who are not candidates for transplant or have refractory bleeding despite medical or endoscopic treatment.

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