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Relation between liver pathology and prognosis in patients with portal hypertension.

The most common causes of variceal bleeding are cirrhosis, schistosomiasis, and extrahepatic portal venous obstruction. The prognosis for an individual patient depends on the severity of the bleeding episode and the underlying liver function. Liver function is determined to a large extent by the underlying liver pathology. Patients with noncirrhotic portal hypertension or cirrhosis with good liver function have good short- and long-term prognoses. In patients with established cirrhosis, the presence of alcoholic hepatitis, hepatocellular carcinoma, or portal venous thrombosis may adversely affect prognosis. In addition to affecting prognosis, the underlying pathology may also influence choice of treatment. This point is particularly true for treatments such as shunt surgery, liver transplantation, or transjugular intrahepatic shunts.

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