Arsenic and non-cirrhotic portal hypertension. A report of eight cases

J Hepatol. 1990 Jul;11(1):80-5. doi: 10.1016/0168-8278(90)90276-w.


It was discovered that eight patients with complications of non-cirrhotic portal hypertension had received an arsenical preparation for psoriasis as Fowler's solution some years age. Seven of them were admitted for bleeding oesophageal varices. Upon admission, splenomegaly and hypersplenism were present. Liver tests were normal and palmar skin keratosis and melanosis were noted. Liver biopsy of six patients showed features of incomplete septal cirrhosis. Malignant skin lesions were present in half of the patients. One patient died from lung carcinoma and another from an ovarium neoplasm. Chronic arsenic intake should be actively looked for in all patients with psoriasis and non-cirrhotic portal hypertension. They should be followed up for many years for development of malignant lesions in skin, lung and liver. Liver abnormalities present in the biopsies are often minor and may escape detection.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arsenic / therapeutic use
  • Arsenic / toxicity*
  • Biopsy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Portal / chemically induced
  • Hypertension, Portal / epidemiology
  • Hypertension, Portal / pathology*
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Liver Neoplasms / etiology
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psoriasis / complications
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy
  • Psoriasis / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology


  • Arsenic