Traumatic communications between the hepatic artery or its branches and the portal vein or its tributaries usually are clinically occult until the late sequelae of portal hypertension, such as esophageal and mesenteric varices, ascites, or congestive heart failure, become manifest. The authors describe the early diagnosis of such a lesion by computed tomography. The CT findings included a hepatic hematoma and, more significantly, diffuse thickening of the small and large bowel wall. This thickening represents vascular congestion of the bowel caused by acute portal hypertension prior to the development of decompressing portal collateral circuits. When this CT finding is not associated with other signs of intestinal ischemia or infarction, it should suggest portal hypertension and lead to arteriography for diagnosis and therapy of arterioportal fistula.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Emergency Medicine
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Arteries, injury
- Interventional radiology
- Trauma, liver