J Med Ultrason (2001). 2021 Nov 17. doi: 10.1007/s10396-021-01158-3. Online ahead of print.
This review focuses on ultrasonography (US) to diagnose patients with complications in portal hypertension. Clinicians first use US to evaluate patients with suspected portal hypertension, because US is quick, simple, and radiation free. US is necessary for grading and performing paracentesis for ascites. Doppler US-based detection of reverse splanchnic vein flow or the presence of a spontaneous portosystemic shunt is highly specific in patients with cirrhosis. Since it is important to estimate spleen size in patients with portal hypertension, spleen size is usually measured by US. Spleen volume can be more accurately measured with 3D-US. Estimation of viable residual splenic volume after partial splenic embolization should be limited to cases with total splenic volume less than 1000 ml. Portal vein thrombosis is often detected during the US examination performed when symptoms first appear or during the follow-up. Two-dimensional transthoracic echocardiography is an excellent noninvasive screening test in patients with pulmonary portal hypertension who can undergo it. By measuring the maximum and minimum diastolic blood flow velocities in the renal arteries using renal color Doppler US, the pulsatility index (PI) and resistive index (RI) can be calculated. The PI and RI in cirrhotic patients were significantly higher than those in healthy subjects and patients with chronic hepatitis, and showed a significant positive correlation with the Child-Pugh Score. In conclusion, US is an essential tool for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with portal hypertension.