OUR PURPOSE is to present clinical material demonstrating a hitherto unreported phenomenon, the spontaneous disappearance of esophageal varices in hepatic cirrhosis. An additional group of patients, having esophageal varices secondary to hepatic cirrhosis and normal portal pressures, will be presented and their relationship to the first group discussed.
Esophageal varices play an important and dangerous role in hepatic cirrhosis. Sodeman estimates that "esophageal varices occur in 80 to 90% of patients with definite portal cirrhosis."1 Hemorrhage from bleeding esophageal varices has been estimated to cause between one-quarter and one-third of all deaths due to cirrhosis of the liver.2 Although the above figures do not agree entirely with our own, they serve to demonstrate the importance of the problem.
In general, agreement exists that esophageal varices are the result of elevated venous pressures within the esophageal veins.3 In cirrhosis of the liver these increased pressures arise as a
BENNETT HD, LORENTZEN C, BAKER LA. TRANSIENT ESOPHAGEAL VARICES IN HEPATIC CIRRHOSIS. AMA Arch Intern Med. 1953;92(4):507–522. doi:10.1001/archinte.1953.00240220055010