Anorectal varices, haemorrhoids, and portal hypertension

S W Hosking, H L Smart, A G Johnson, D R Triger
Lancet 1989 February 18, 1 (8634): 349-52
In a prospective study of 100 consecutive patients with cirrhosis, 44% had anorectal varices. The prevalence of anorectal varices rose with progression of portal hypertension; it was 19% in cirrhotic patients without portal hypertension compared with 59% in those who had bled from oesophageal varices. There was no evidence that endoscopic sclerotherapy directly increased the prevalence of anorectal varices. Haemorrhoids occurred independently of anorectal varices and their presence was unrelated to the degree of portal hypertension. These data provide further evidence that haemorrhoids and anorectal varices are separate and distinct entities. However, both can bleed and careful examination is essential to prevent misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment.

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