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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Noncirrhotic presinusoidal portal hypertension associated with chronic arsenical intoxication.

A 39-year-old male with bleeding esophageal varices due to portal hypertension was observed. The patient had taken an arsenical preparation during a period of 12 yr because of psoriasis and subsequently developed keratotic changes of the palms and soles of his feet and an epithelioma of the scrotum. Physical examination was unremarkable except for splenomegaly and skin lesions. Liver function tests were normal; a needle biopsy of the liver (right lobe) showed nonspecific changes. Combined hepatic and umbilicoportal catheterization revealed, on splenography and portography, huge esophageal varices and patent portal vein; dilation, distortion, and cut-off of many intrahepatic portal branches were found. A marked gradient existed between the free portal venous pressure (25 mm Hg) and the wedged hepatic venous pressure (9.5 mm Hg). Hepatic blood flow, portal PO2, cardiac output, cardiac index, and blOOD volume were within normal range. Arteriographies did not reveal arteriovenous shunts in the splanchnic or splenic vessels. A splenorenal shunt were performed and a wedged biopsy of the liver (left lobe) revealed nonspecific changes. Three years later the patient had not experienced any episode of hemorrhage or hepatic encephalopathy but developed an epithelioma of the tongue. No known cause could be incriminated in the pathogenesis of the portal hypertension. However, there was unequivocal chronic arsenic intoxication. Toxic hepatitis, cirrhosis, noncirrhotic portal hypertension, and hemangiosarcoma of the liver have been reported with the intake of arsenicals. Thus, it is suggested that in this patient, presinusoidal portal hypertension was secondary to chronic arsenical intake associated with marked intrahepatic vascular changes seen on portography.[1]


  1. Noncirrhotic presinusoidal portal hypertension associated with chronic arsenical intoxication. Huet, P.M., Guillaume, E., Cote, J., Légaré, A., Lavoie, P., Viallet, A. Gastroenterology (1975) [Pubmed]
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