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Budd-Chiari Syndrome is a Condition that Can Lead to Liver Transplant at Tampa General Hospital

Couple posing for the camera Budd-Chiari syndrome is a rare vascular disorder characterized by blood clots that narrow or obstruct liver (hepatic) veins. These hindered veins slow or cease blood flow from the liver to the heart, initiating blood backups that cause the liver to swell. Liver damage can ensue, and if the case is severe or left untreated, scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) or liver failure typically occurs. The specific cause of Budd-Chiari syndrome is not clear in most patients. While some patients with this liver condition don’t report any symptoms, others experience symptoms that usually worsen or become increasingly apparent over the course of weeks or months, including:

  • Pain in the upper right section of the abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Spleen enlargement
  • Jaundice
  • Bleeding in the esophagus
  • Fluid collection in the peritoneal cavity (the space between the two layers of membrane that line the stomach)

Treatment of Budd-Chiari syndrome varies depending on the location and number of affected veins, and whether the veins are partially or completely blocked. In some cases, drugs can be given to dissolve clots around the liver or help prevent them from worsening or recurring. To widen or clear a restricted vein, a patient may undergo a procedure where a small deflated balloon attached to a catheter is fed through the blood vessel and inflated. Others may receive surgery to create a connection, known as a shunt, between two key veins, allowing blood to reach the heart by bypassing the liver altogether. For some patients, however, a liver transplant is the only suitable treatment option. Tampa General Hospital’s Liver Transplant Program accepts adult patients with life-threatening liver conditions - including Budd-Chiari syndrome -  who have been evaluated by our medical team and meet necessary selection criteria.

To receive information about our liver transplant selection and referral criteria, call Tampa General Hospital’s Liver Transplant Program at 1-800-505-7769 (press 4 for the liver transplant program and ask for the referral coordinator), or contact the coordinator directly at (813) 844-8686.