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Portal Hypertension


Portal hypertension is high blood pressure in the portal vein of your liver. Your portal vein is the main blood supply for your liver. Follow-up care is important, because this condition can be life-threatening. Talk to your healthcare provider if you need help to stop drinking alcohol. Ask which medicines you should not take with this condition.


Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You will need additional tests and treatment. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.


You may need the following:

  • Beta-blockers lower the blood pressure in your portal vein. This is done by slowing your heart rate and making your blood vessels wider. This may prevent damage to your liver and help prevent bleeding.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.


  • Stop drinking alcohol. Alcohol will narrow your blood vessels further, damage your liver, and make your condition worse.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider before you take any medicines. Certain medicines, such as antibiotics, acetaminophen, or birth control pills can damage your liver.
  • Eat healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Ask if you need to be on a special diet. You may need to avoid sodium, protein, and sugar if you have swelling in your abdomen.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your abdomen swells.
  • You urinate very little.
  • Your heartbeat is faster than normal for you.
  • You have increased confusion or forgetfulness.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You vomit blood.
  • You have bloody or black bowel movements.
  • You have chest pain, shortness of breath, or swelling in your legs.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.