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Esophageal Varices

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  • Esophageal varices

    Bleeding esophageal varices are enlarged veins in the walls of the lower part of the esophagus that bleed. The esophagus is the tube that connects your throat to your stomach. Scarring (cirrhosis) of the liver is the most common cause of esophageal varices. This scarring cuts down on blood flowing through the liver. As a result, more blood flows through the veins of the esophagus. The extra blood flow causes the veins in the esophagus to balloon outward. Heavy bleeding can occur if the veins break open.

  • Esophageal varices

    Symptoms:

    hematemesis (blood in vomit)

    abdominal pain

    lightheadedness

    melena (black stools)

    bloody stools (only in severe cases)

    shock (only in severe cases, due to blood loss)

  • Esophageal varices

    Diagnostic test:

    Blood tests

    Endoscopy

    Computed tomography (CT) scan

    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

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