Definition

What is Budd-Chiari syndrome?

Budd-Chiari syndrome, also known as hepatic vein thrombosis (HVT), is a disease occurs when the veins of the liver are obstructed by a blood clot. This condition blocks the drainage system of the liver, which impedes blood flow back to the heart. Without proper blood flow, the liver stops getting the fresh oxygen it needs to function. This can severely damage the liver and can lead to liver failure.

The signs and symptoms caused by Budd-Chiari syndrome vary from person to person. Symptoms associated with Budd Chiari syndrome include pain in the upper right part of the abdomen, an abnormally large liver (hepatomegaly), and/or accumulation of fluid in the space (peritoneal cavity) between the two layers of the membrane that lines the stomach. Some people may have no symptoms until the blockage causes liver damage.

How common is Budd-Chiari syndrome?

Budd-Chiari syndrome affects males and females in equal numbers. Most cases tend to affect individuals between the ages of twenty and forty. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of Budd-Chiari syndrome?

In the early stages of the condition, not everyone with Budd-Chiari syndrome will have noticeable signs and symptoms. For those who do, the most common signs and symptoms are buildup of fluid in the abdomen and an enlarged liver. This is caused by pressure buildup behind the blockage.

Other common signs and symptoms of Budd-Chiari syndrome include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Vomiting blood
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Swelling of lower limbs
  • Abdominal pain (mainly in the upper right part of the abdomen)
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Causes

What causes Budd-Chiari syndrome?

Some certain medications, diseases, and inherited disorders can be the cause of Budd-Chiari syndrome. Anything that can cause blood clotting in the veins of the liver may bring about Budd-Chiari syndrome.

The most common causes of Budd-Chiari syndrome may include:

  • Inherited blood disorders
  • Liver cancer
  • Liver trauma
  • Infections
  • Vein inflammation (phlebitis)
  • Birth control pills
  • Pregnancy
  • Immunosuppressive drugs
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Inflammatory disorders
  • Connective tissue disorders

Risk factors

What increases my risk for Budd-Chiari syndrome?

There are many risk factors for Budd-Chiari syndrome, such as:

  • Dacarbazine
  • Alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency
  • Membranous webs
  • Parasitic infections
  • Trauma and injury
  • Pregnancy and postpartum
  • Regular use of birth control pills, combined with specific genetic defects can also lead to hypercoagulability and BCS.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is Budd-Chiari syndrome diagnosed?

If your doctor suspects that you may experience this condition, a physical examination will be performed and some tests will be also recommended by your doctor. These tests may include:

  • A blood sample can show if your liver is working properly. You may need an imaging test if the blood test results show liver damage.
  • Your doctor may order an ultrasound of the liver to check its size and for signs of damage. A computed tomography scan can also be used to look for obstructions and damaged tissue.
  • You may need a liver biopsy if your doctor spots abnormalities in your liver. They’ll remove a small piece of tissue from your liver to look for damage.
  • Your doctor can also measure pressure within the vein. To do this, they’ll insert a small instrument through a catheter into the hepatic vein. This procedure is called hepatic vein catheterization.

How is Budd-Chiari syndrome treated?

Medication

Anticlotting medications can often treat Budd-Chiari syndrome. Medications used to dissolve blood clots are called fibrinolytic drugs. Moreover, your doctor may also prescribe anticoagulants to prevent blood clots.

Surgery

Your doctor may choose to widen your hepatic vein to improve blood flow. This procedure is called percutaneous transluminal angioplasty.

During the procedure, a surgeon will feed a catheter into the blocked vein. The catheter has a deflated balloon at the tip, which the surgeon will inflate once it’s in the vein. This causes the vein to widen. Once the vein is wide enough, the surgeon will insert wire mesh into the vein. This holds it open.

Your surgeon may use transjugular intrahepatic portal-systemic shunting to redirect the blood flow away from the liver. This will release pressure on the portal vein.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage Budd-Chiari syndrome?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with Budd-Chiari syndrome:

  • Eat healthy foods. Eat a healthy diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Increase physical activity
  • Limit alcohol
  • Don’t smoke
  • Manage stress
  • Practice relaxation or slow, deep breathing

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: August 9, 2017 | Last Modified: August 9, 2017

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