Lymph dynamics in idiopathic portal hypertension has been studied in two phases. In the first phase thoracic duct lymph transport was studied in 11 patients with idiopathic portal hypertension by cannulating the duct. This revealed altered lymph transport in the form of a distended thoracic duct, raised pressure in the duct, and haemorrhagic lymph with an increased flow rate. The lymph flow rate was analysed in relation to various hepatic haemodynamic and biochemical parameters. In the second phase of the study hepatic lymphatics were studied by percutaneous hepatography in 16 patients with idiopathic portal hypertension. By this technique hepatic lymphatics were opacified in patients with idiopathic portal hypertension and cirrhosis with equal frequency. The significance of this finding in relation to the altered hepatic haemodynamics and thoracic duct lymph transport is discussed.
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