caput medusae also called the palm tree sign, which is the appearance of distended and engorged superficial epigastric veins, which are seen radiating from the umbilicus across the abdomen. caput medusae is essentially seen in patients with progressive and severe portal hypertension, a condition defined as elevation of the hepatic venous pressure gradient to >5mmHg which occurs as a consequences of cirrhosis.The mechanism includes increased intrahepatic resistance to the passage of blood flow through the liver together with increased splanchnic blood flow due to vasodilation within the splanchnic vascular bed. The increased pressure is transmitted to collateral venous channels which are dilated and seen on the abdominal skin.
Symptoms of Caput medusae
Because this is a medical term there are no symptoms to be listed. If there are any symptoms they are the result of what is causing a person to have caput medusae. One of the causes is portal hypertension. The symptoms of that cause include:
-The build-up of fluid in the body which can cause your legs and belly to swell
-Having an enlarged spleen
-Your umbilicus, or belly button, may stick out.
If a person has a very large caput medusae it is possible to sometimes hear the blood humming as it passes through the inside of your veins with the sound becoming louder when you breathe in. This is known as a Cruveilheir=Baumgartner murmur
Caput medusae Causes
The main cause of caput medusae is a medical condition called portal hypertension. When a person has this medical condition there is an abnormally high pressure in your portal circulation, which is the flow of your blood from one organ to another without the blood going through your heart. It is a system of veins that carries the nutrients from your pancreas, gut, and spleen to your liver. There can be pressure within the system that can rise because of an obstruction or an increased flow of blood entering the system. If it an obstruction it can happen at any point between the blood that leaves your pancreas, gut, or spleen, the passage through your liver, or its exit into the veins , referred to as the systemic veins, that drain into your heart.
Caput medusae Treatment
Again, as this is a medical term, there is no treatment. The treatment that is involved will be treating what is causing you to have caput medusae. If it cirrhosis of the liver causing you to have portal hypertension you may need a liver transplant. Sometimes if there is a lot of fluid build-up in your stomach you may need to have it drained away. You may also need surgery to stop the bleeding from the veins from around your esophagus.
REFERENCE AND PHOTO CREDIT- HEALTHTOOL
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