Ultrasonography for Noninvasive Assessment of Portal Hypertension

Gut Liver. 2017 Jul 15;11(4):464-473. doi: 10.5009/gnl16078.


Portal hypertension is a major pathophysiology in patients with cirrhosis. Portal pressure is the gold standard to evaluate the severity of portal hypertension, and radiological intervention is the only procedure for pressure measurement. Ultrasound (US) is a simple and noninvasive imaging modality available worldwide. B-mode imaging allows broad applications for patients to detect and characterize chronic liver diseases and focal hepatic lesions. The Doppler technique offers real-time observation of blood flow with qualitative and quantitative assessments, and the application of microbubble-based contrast agents has improved the detectability of peripheral blood flow. In addition, elastography for the liver and spleen covers a wider field beyond the original purpose of fibrosis assessment. These developments enhance the practical use of US in the evaluation of portal hemodynamic abnormalities. This article reviews the recent progress of US in the assessment of portal hypertension.

Keywords: Contrast media; Hypertension, portal; Liver; Ultrasonography, Doppler.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Contrast Media
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques / methods
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Portal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hypertension, Portal / etiology
  • Liver / blood supply
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Portal Pressure
  • Portal System / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ultrasonography / methods*


  • Contrast Media