Radiologia Brasileira ()

Acquired portosystemic collaterals: anatomy and imaging

  • Andréa Farias de Melo Leite,
  • Américo Mota Jr.,
  • Francisco Abaeté Chagas-Neto,
  • Sara Reis Teixeira,
  • Jorge Elias Junior,
  • Valdair Francisco Muglia

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 49, no. 4
pp. 251 – 256


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Abstract Portosystemic shunts are enlarged vessels that form collateral pathological pathways between the splanchnic circulation and the systemic circulation. Although their causes are multifactorial, portosystemic shunts all have one mechanism in common-increased portal venous pressure, which diverts the blood flow from the gastrointestinal tract to the systemic circulation. Congenital and acquired collateral pathways have both been described in the literature. The aim of this pictorial essay was to discuss the distinct anatomic and imaging features of portosystemic shunts, as well as to provide a robust method of differentiating between acquired portosystemic shunts and similar pathologies, through the use of illustrations and schematic drawings. Imaging of portosystemic shunts provides subclinical markers of increased portal venous pressure. Therefore, radiologists play a crucial role in the identification of portosystemic shunts. Early detection of portosystemic shunts can allow ample time to perform endovascular shunt operations, which can relieve portal hypertension and prevent acute or chronic complications in at-risk patient populations.