The esophagus is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. Esophageal varicies are abnormally engorged veins within the esophagus. They are most commonly seen in people with liver disease. Often, the person will have no symptoms to suggest they have esophageal varices, but various complications can result and can be life-threatening. For this reason, people with esophageal varices generally require medication or surgical procedures.
When a person has liver disease, blood flow to the liver can become restricted. This usually happens because clots have formed in the blood vessels or because scarring in the liver causes a blockage. The body then has to find a way to bypass the blockages to maintain normal blood flow. It does this by diverting blood into smaller vessels not designed to cope with so much blood. The vessels become enlarged and potentially rupture.
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