Budd-Chiari syndrome is a group of symptoms that occur when one or more blood clots narrow or block the hepatic veins, those that carry blood out of the liver. This can damage the liver and the blood vessels that support it. It causes blood to accumulate in the liver, enlarging it and increasing pressure in the vein that carries blood from the digestive organs and spleen into the liver – the portal vein. This in turn can lead to fluid accumulation (edema), especially in the abdomen (ascites), dilated veins in the esophagus (varices) and abdomen, esophageal bleeding, and liver cirrhosis.
Budd-Chiari syndrome may occur in those who have a condition that increases the risk of blood clots, such as sickle cell disease, anti-phospholipid syndrome, pancreatic cancers, with blood malignancies (e.g., polycythemia vera, essential thrombocythemia), with liver or blood vessel injury, with liver cancers, and with parasitic infections. Symptoms may emerge slowly and worsen over time or develop abruptly, such as is sometimes seen as a complication of pregnancy.
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
- CT (computed tomography)
For more information on these imaging procedures, see RadiologyInfo.org.