Twenty-eight patients with hepatosplenic schistosomiasis and portal hypertension were studied. The transumbilical portal pressure, transsplenic portal pressure, and thoracic duct occluded pressure were measured simultaneously and thoracic duct lymph flow estimated. Changes in the splanchnic vasculature were studied radiologically barium swallow, splenoportography, and umbilical portography. The transumbilical-transsplenic portal pressure gradient was found to be of particular value. The gradient was considered to be positive when the transumbilical portal pressure was higher than the transsplenic portal pressure, in such cases the primary generating factor of portal hypertension and/or ascites was most probably of hepatic origin. The gradient was considered to be negative when the transumbilical portal pressure was lower than the transsplenic portal pressure; in such cases the primary generating factor of portal hypertension and/or ascites was most probably of splenic or prehepatic origin. A correlation was found between the type of gradient and the radiographic pattern met with. For instance, in cases with positive gradient the hepatic blood flows, as estimated from the splenoportography, were mostly stage I or II, and showed no retrograde portal vein flow on umbilical portography. While, in cases with negative gradients, the hepatic blood flows were mostly stage III or IV, and showed retrograde portal vein flow on umbilical portography. The type of gradient, the clinicopathological stage, and the radiographic changes in the splanchnic vasculature were taken into account in selecting the surgical procedure to be used in each individual case.
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