Portosystemic collateral pathways

Portosystemic collateral pathways (also called varices) develop spontaneously via dilatation of pre-existing anastomoses between the portal and systemic venous systems. This facilitates shunting of blood away from the liver into the systemic venous system in portal hypertension, as a means for reducing portal venous pressure. However, these are not sufficient for normalizing portal venous pressure.

The main sites of portosystemic collateral pathways are:

Differential diagnosis

Dilatation of splenic veins at the splenic hilum mimicking splenic hilar varices without splenomegaly may occur in situations such as increased perfusion of splenic tissue associated with an immune response 4.

Anatomy: Abdominopelvic

Anatomy: Abdominopelvic

Article information

rID: 1910
Section: Anatomy
Tag: varices
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Varices (portosystemic shunts)
  • Porto-systemic collateral pathways
  • Portal-systemic collaterals
  • Porto-systemic collaterals
  • Portosystemic shunts
  • Porto-systemic shunts
  • Porto-systemic shunt
  • Portal-systemic collateral pathways
  • Portosystemic collaterals
  • Portosystemic collateral pathways
  • Portosystemic shunt

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: recanalized paraumbilical vein
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  • Case 2: SMV varices
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  • Case 3: gastro-esophageal varices
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  • Case 4: many sites
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