We investigated treatment-induced changes in venous return from the small bowel and small bowel intestinal mucosal injury induced by the treatment of esophageal varices in patients with portal hypertension. A total of 14 patients (age 59.8 ± 9.5 years, five women and 9 men) who received prophylactic treatment of esophageal varices between December 1998 and March 1999 were investigated. Diamine oxidase (DAO) activity was measured before and after treatment. Changes in blood flow of the portal and superior mesenteric veins were investigated by Doppler ultrasonography in six patients. A significant decrease in DAO activity was observed three days after treatment (11.5 ± 1.6 units/liter prior to treatment versus 8.6 ± 1.6 units/liter three days after treatment; P < 0.001). Decreases in superior mesenteric and portal venous flow velocity were observed in four and three patients, respectively. In two patients with an increase in the cross-sectional area of the superior mesenteric vein with delayed venous return, a marked decrease in DAO activity was observed three days after treatment. In patients with portal hypertension, rapid reduction of pooling of portal flow caused by the treatment of esophageal varices can induce transient congestion of the mesenteric venous system which can produce some small bowel mucosal injury.
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