Why beta-blockers for portal hypertens... - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust
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Why beta-blockers for portal hypertension, rather than blood pressure reducing drugs?

KempSarah
KempSarah

Hi

My Mum has recently been diagnosed with NAFLD and stage 1 cirrhosis and she has been prescribed beta-blockers. We were just wondering why beta blockers have been prescribed rather than the usual blood pressure reducing drugs? Does anybody know why this is? Not saying it's wrong, just wondering why.....

6 Replies
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Which drugs do you mean as 'normal drugs to reduce high blood pressure'? There is a difference between high blood pressure which affects the whole body system and portal hypertension which is only to do with the pressure build up in the portal vein & the complications this brings.

The usual beta-blockers used for treatment of PH are carvedilol and propanolol both are non-cardioselective beta blockers i.e. they don't reduce the blood pressure all through the body just in the portal vein and its systems. Many people with PH don't have general high blood pressure - infact my hubby has generally low blood pressure and yet still had Portal Hypertension resulting in complications.

I just found a page about this which sheds light on the various options for treatment of PH, it's a bit of an academic piece but does explain things quite well. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi...

Katie

KempSarah
KempSarah
in reply to AyrshireK

Thank you. I’ll take a read and try to translate into layman’s terms:-)

Hidden
Hidden

Yep! Exactly what Katie said. The beta blockers are for the portal vein etc. I am on the carvedilol. Have had portal vein issues, but generally blood pressure on the low side of normal. Whilst you can have fibrosis across much of the liver, the cirrhosis could be around the portal vein and cause complications if left untreated- hence the beta blockers to lower the risk of further problems. Damage across the liver is not always even (referred to as homogenous), so a biopsy or fibroscan does not give the full picture necessarily, but blood results can suggest that portal vein issues may occur. Hope that helps :)

KempSarah
KempSarah
in reply to Hidden

Thank you - that helps explain it

Hidden
Hidden

A beta blocker is a type of blood pressure reducing tablet that does not constrict blood supply to organs unlike many others.

Hi, I've got portal hypertension too, I'm on bisoprolal, and got a procedure called a liver Tipps, that's when they put a stent like thing in the liver, I got this done while I had Bowel cancer and could not get chemo, that was 5yrs ago and I'm still here, also the bisoprolal helps keep varices at bay, I've not had any yet so I hope it keeps working, the tabs will do you good they are not just for the heart, I'm on other tabs for that,

Keep well x

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