Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
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Liver blood supply
Liver blood supply


Definition:

Hepatic ischemia is a condition in which the liver does not get enough blood or oxygen, causing injury to liver cells.



Alternative Names:

Ischemic hepatitis; Shock liver



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Low blood pressure from any condition can lead to hepatic ischemia. Such conditions may include:

Other causes may include:

  • Large blood clots in the main artery to the liver (hepatic artery) after a transplant
  • Swelling of blood vessels (vasculitis)


Symptoms:

If low blood pressure continues for a long time, you may feel weak and light-headed. However, the period of low blood pressure may be brief and produce no symptoms. Damage to the liver cells usually does not cause symptoms.



Signs and tests:

Blood levels of liver enzymes such as AST and ALT typically rise 1-3 days after the episode of low blood pressure. Levels of another enzyme in the blood, LDH , are also usually high.



Treatment:

Treatment depends on the cause of the low blood pressure. Low blood pressure must be treated so that the liver receives enough blood. The illness causing the problem must also be treated.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

Patients generally recover if the illness causing hepatic ischemia can be treated. Death from liver failure due to hepatic ischemia is very rare.



Complications:

Liver failure is a rare but life-threatening complication.



Calling your health care provider:

See your health care provider right away if you have persistent weakness or symptoms of shock or dehydration .



Prevention:

Quickly treating the causes of low blood pressure may prevent hepatic ischemia.



References:

Jain R, Thiele D. Gastrointestinal and Hepatic Manifestations of Systemic Diseases. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Sleisenger MH, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2006:chap 34.




Review Date: 8/22/2008
Reviewed By: Christian Stone, MD, Division of Gastroenterology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100