Hepatic vein obstruction is a blockage of the hepatic vein, which carries blood away from the liver.
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 obstruction is the most common cause of Budd-Chiari syndrome.
One of the signs is swelling of the abdomen from fluid buildup (ascites). The liver is often swollen and tender.
Treatment varies, depending on the cause of the blockage.
Your doctor may recommend the following medicines:
Surgery may be recommended. This may involve:
Hepatic vein obstruction can get worse and lead to liver failure, which can be life threatening.
Call your health care provider if:
Budd-Chiari syndrome; Hepatic veno-occlusive disease
Hauser SC. Vascular diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 145.
Stevens WE, Patil A. Vascular disease of the liver. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2010:chap 83.
Updated by: Jennifer K. Lehrer, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Frankford-Torresdale Hospital, Aria Health System, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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