Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology
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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 64  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 32-42

Portal hypertensive vasculopathy – An entity worth remembering with non-neoplastic gastrointestinal lesions

1 Department of Pathology and Gastroenterology, MLN Medical College, Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, India
2 Department of Pathology, Rohilkhand Medical College and Hospital, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Vatsala Misra
Department of Pathology, MLN Medical College, Prayagraj - 211 001, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijpm.ijpm_201_21

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Portal hypertensive vasculopathy (PHV) represents an increase in the pressure in the portal circulation. This increased pressure leads to changes in the mucosa that can be appreciated endoscopically as well as histopathologically. Lesions can be observed in the entire gastrointestinal tract (GIT) including stomach, duodenum, jejunum and colon. The histological changes are appreciated mainly in the mucosal and submucosal blood vessels. A knowledge of these lesions as well as the changes helps in separating them from other close differentials with specific treatment to be instituted. The pathogenesis of the hemodynamic changes is not well-understood. The underlying factor is increased portal pressure. Studies indicate, that besides increased portal pressure other factors in combination led to the observed changes. Portal hypertensive gastropathy (PHG) is seen in the gastric body and fundus, while varices are noted in the cardia and fundus. Changes may be seen in the small intestine and throughout the colon with anorectal varices. Histopathological changes include dilated, congested and ectatic capillaries and edema in the lamina propria besides a large spectrum of other histopathological changes. Mucosal capillaries with thick irregular wall show absence of red blood cells in the lumen. Thickening of the vessel wall serves as a better marker than the vascular diameter when portal hypertension (PHT) is considered. Long standing cases may show fibrosis in lamina propria. At times, these changes may lead to occult gastrointestinal bleeding. Important differentials need to be ruled out in all the cases as the treatment and the outcome of all differs. Endoscopically or histopathologically if the mucosal changes are observed they should not be overlooked and a detailed work-up must be carried out.

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