What Are the Basics of Budd-Chiari Syndrome?

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Budd-chiari syndrome is a rare condition caused by obstruction of hepatic veins that drain the liver. It can affect one in a million adults. Budd-chiari syndrome has some clinical variants, such as acute and subacute forms, chronic forms, and fulminant forms.  

What causes budd-chiari syndrome?

A variety of reasons can trigger budd-chiari syndrome, but the exact cause of it is not known. Generally, conitions that can cause hepatic vein obstruction are common reasons for the syndrome. So the conditions that may lead to this syndrome include:
  • Inherited problems of blood clotting
  • Chronic inflammatory disease
  • Infections
  • Liver trauma
  • Pregnancy
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Polycythemia or sickle cell disease
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma

What are the symptoms of budd-chiari syndrome?

Basic symptoms or signs of budd-chiari syndrome are as follows:
  • Jaundice
  • Ascites <!--nextpage-->
  • Splenomegaly
  • Stasis ulcerations
  • Ankle edema
  • Hepatomegaly
  • Prominence of collateral veins

How to diagnose budd-chiari syndrome?

Budd-chiari syndrome can be confirmed through the following tests:
  • Liver biopsy
  • Liver ultrasound
  • Liver function tests
  • Doppler ultrasound of the liver veins
  • CT scan or MRI of the abdomen

How to treat budd-chiari syndrome?

If left untreated, this budd-chiari syndrome can lead to fatal liver damage. Suggestable treatments include:
  • Anticoagulation or blood-thinning medications
  • Thrombolytic drugs
  • Stent placement and angioplasty
  • TIPS (Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt)
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