The time of appearance of the left gastric vein on serial celiac arteriograms in patients with portal hypertension and esophageal varices was compared with that of the portal vein to assess regional hemodynamics in the left venous portion of the stomach, an area located in close proximity to the varices. In two thirds of all the patients with cirrhosis or non-cirrhotic idiopathic portal hypertension (IPH), the left gastric vein was visualized earlier or simultaneously than or with the portal vein, while in all but one patient with prehepatic portal obstruction, there was a delayed opacification of the left gastric vein. These results suggest the presence of a hyperdynamic circulatory state which promotes venous hypertension in the left gastric venous area of the stomach of a considerable number of patients with cirrhosis or IPH. In such a hemodynamic state, selective decompression of varices can be achieved by a left gastric venous caval shunt.
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