Bleeding varices are bleeding veins in the esophagus,
caused by a liver disease.
The symptoms of bleeding varices are:
- Blood in the stool or vomit
- Cirrhosis of the liver
Diagnosis of Bleeding Varices
Your doctor will look for the following signs of bleeding varices:
- Varicose veins in the esophagus, identifiable under endoscopy
- Varicose veins in the skin near the navel
- Incoherent speech, due to toxins in the bloodstream
Bleeding varices are actually caused by a liver disease called
portal hypertension. Here, a scarred or cirrhotic liver can no
longer filter blood. As a result, the blood develops a bypass
around the liver in form of varicose veins near the junction between
the stomach and the esophagus.
The blood pressure in the varicose vein is great, thus causing
the vein to become distended. Sometimes, it is so great that the
vein can rupture and bleed profusely.
Treatment for Bleeding Varices
The treatments for bleeding varices include:
Intravenous medications are given to control blood pressure,
decrease blood supply to the gastrointestinal tract, and reduce
the risk of bleeding.
- Rubber band treatment
In a technique similar to that used to threat internal hemorrhoid,
a rubber band is placed on the varicose vein to cut off its
blood supply. Within a few weeks, the vein will shrivel up and
fall off along with the band.
A sclerosant, usually a chemical or saline
solution, is injected into the varicose vein to induce a clot
and block its blood supply. This will cause the vein to shrivel
- Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt
A tube or shunt is surgically inserted to for blood to bypass
the liver. This relieves the pressure on the veins in the esophagus.
- Sengstaken-Blakemore tube
A balloon is inflated against the walls of the esophagus to
press against the varices and stop the bleeding.
Medical Encyclopedia: Bleeding Varices