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Rectosigmoid varices and other mucosal changes in patients with portal hypertension.

A prospective study was performed to evaluate the prevalence of anorectal varices and their clinical significance as well as to study other proctosigmoidoscopic changes in 75 patients with portal hypertension of diverse etiology. Sixty-seven patients (89.3%) had lower gastrointestinal varices with no significant difference (p greater than 0.05) in prevalence between cirrhosis (92.1%), noncirrhotic portal fibrosis (87%), and extrahepatic portal venous obstruction (85.7%). The rectum was the most common site of lower gastrointestinal varices. External anal and sigmoid colonic varices almost always occurred in the presence of rectal and/or internal anal varices. There was no correlation between the presence of rectosigmoid varices and the severity of esophagogastric mucosal changes or portal hypertension. There was no suggestion that esophageal variceal sclerotherapy influenced the presence of anorectal varices. Seven patients (9.3%) had recent hematochezia, including three patients in whom it occurred in the absence of any upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage. Varices were the cause of bleeding in at least five patients. An abnormal mucosal vascular pattern in the form of telangiectasias or spiders was seen, irrespective of etiology of portal hypertension, in nine patients (12%). Hemorrhoids were present in 31 patients (41.3%) with an age-related difference (p less than 0.05) between patients with cirrhosis (55.3%) and extrahepatic portal venous obstruction (21.4%).

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