Variceal Bleeding

Varices are dilated blood vessels in the esophagus or stomach caused by portal hypertension. They cause no symptoms unless they rupture and bleed, which can be life-threatening.

Someone with symptoms of bleeding varices should seek treatment immediately. Doctors can stop the bleeding and help prevent varices from coming back.

Symptoms of Bleeding Varices

Symptoms include:

  • Vomiting of blood
  • Black, tarry, or bloody stool
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shock (in severe cases)

Bleeding from varices is a medical emergency. If the bleeding is not controlled quickly, a person may go into shock or die.

Even after the bleeding has been stopped, there can be serious complications, such as pneumonia, sepsis, liver failure, kidney failure, confusion, and coma.