Estimates were made of the arsenic concentration in liver specimens from nine patients having idiopathic portal hypertension (IP), and in four livers these were found to be significantly higher than those in patients with cirrhosis and in control subjects. The splenovenogram revealed extensive portosystemic collateral circulation. Corrected sinusoidal pressure and blood flow studies showed higher levels in four patients than in normal subjects. Microscopic examination of liver tissues revealed periportal fibrosis. The higher hepatic arsenic levels that were found were due to the inadvertent drinking of water contaminated with arsenic, adulterated opium, and indigenous medicines. A history of opium intake was not forthcoming but two patients had drunk water contaminated with arsenic and two others had taken bhasams (Ayurvedic medicines prepared by repeated oxidation of ores). Though the aetiology of idiopathic portal hypertension is not known, it is possible that arsenic intake may be one of the factors.
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