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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Celiac Disease May Cause Idiopathic Portal Hypertension

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 04/07/2009 - Idiopathic portal hypertension is a malady ofunknown cause, typically manifesting portal hypertension, splenomegalyand anemia secondary to hypersplenism.

    Recently, a team ofIranian researchers encountered the case of a a 54-year-old maleadmitted for evaluation of malaise, weight loss, abdominal swelling andedema of the lower limbs.

    The reporting team was made up ofdoctors Farhad Zamani, Afsaneh Amiri, Ramin Shakeri, Ali Zare, andMehdi Mohamadnejad, of the Department of Pathology, and theGastrointestinal and Liver Disease Research Center of FirouzgarHospital at the University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, and theDigestive Disease Research Center of Shariati Hospital at TehranUniversity of Medical Sciences.

    The patient's clinicalevaluation showed pancytopenia, large ascites, splenomegaly andesophageal anomalies associated with portal hypertension.

    Bloodtests and small intestinal biopsy showed the presence of celiacdisease. Patient's symptoms improved with a gluten-free diet, butimprovement was further impaired by ulcerative jejunoileitis, andintestinal T-cell lymphoma.

    From these results, the researchersconclude that celiac disease, by means of a heightened immune responsein the splenoportal axis, can lead to the development of idiopathicportal hypertension in susceptible affected patients.

    J Med Case Reports. 2009; 3: 68.

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    I agree with A.J. - all this article does is freak me out! What do all those medical terms mean?? The only bits I understand are Coeliac and anaemia (both of which I have).... should I be worried about this mysterious idiopathic portal hypertension?!

    Idiopathic portal hypertension is an unexplained blockage in the portal vein causing reduced blood flow. Normally portal hypertension is caused by cirrhosis. 'Idiopathic' I believe means unknown cause.


    I have portal hypertension so I have some idea.


    Cirrhosis however is normally the cause of excessive drinking, you see a lot of drinkers with portal hypertension and cirrhosis.


    I do not drink and am 25 years of age, my cirrhosis came from an auto-immune deficiency (celiac). For the longest time my condition was called 'idiopathic portal hypertension'


    I would worry about it if you start experiencing an enlarged spleen (normally part of portal hypertension) this can be felt through pain in the left side under your ribs, tinging in your left shoulder or arm, or a bloated stomach. It looks different from weight gain because your stomach swells like a balloon. Or if you are bleeding excessively or bruising easily.


    Liverwise, If you are extremely worried you can always have a liver biopsy or an ultrasound. Normally they won't to a biopsy without the presence of scarring on the ultrasound.


    I hope that explains it. I wish you good health

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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