SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Enlarged liver (hepatomegaly), axial CT scan. The liver is the large blue mass at left. It has enlarged, a condition known as hepatomegaly, due to portal hypertension. This is high blood pressure in the portal veins, which carry blood from the intestines to the liver. This is usually due to cirrhosis of the liver. Portal hypertension can lead to ascites (fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity), distended veins in the oesophagus, stomach or intestines, impaired brain function due to the liver failing to detoxify the blood, and kidney failure. Treatment is with beta blocker drugs to lower blood pressure, although a liver transplant may be needed in severe cases.
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