umbilicus. This is caused by backflow through the collateral veins within the falciform ligament, and this pattern is called caput medusae.
If the superficial veins are distended, evaluate the direction of drainage by the following technique: Place the tips of your index fingers on a vein that is oriented cephalad-caudad, not transverse, and compress it. Using continuous pressure, slide your index fingers apart for about 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm). Remove one finger and observe the refilling in the direction of flow. Repeat this procedure, but this time remove your other finger and observe the direction of flow. Figure 17-14 shows the abdomen of a patient with intrahepatic portal hypertension. Notice the engorged paraumbilical veins; the flow was away from the umbilicus toward the caval system.
Was this article helpful?
Your heart pumps blood throughout your body using a network of tubing called arteries and capillaries which return the blood back to your heart via your veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart beats.Learn more...