Caput medusae sign (portal hypertension)

The caput medusae sign is seen in patients with severe portal hypertension. It describes the appearance of distended and engorged paraumbilical veins, which are seen radiating from the umbilicus across the abdomen to join the systemic veins. 

History and etymology

The appearance is reminiscent of Medusa, a gorgon of Greek mythology, who was encountered and defeated by Perseus.

See also

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Article information

rID: 23436
Section: Signs
Tags: cases, refs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Caput medusae sign on portal hypertension
  • Caput medusae sign with portal hypertension
  • Caput medusae sign due to portal hypertension

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Cases and figures

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    Clinical photograph - caput medusae sign
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    Liver Cirrhosis
    Case 1
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    Case 2
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    Case 3
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