Craxi A. Camma C. Giunta M., Clinical aspects of bleeding complications in cirrhotic patients. Blood Coagulation & Fibrinolysis. 11 Suppl 1:S75-9, 2000.
Liver disease is a frequent cause of hemostatic abnormalities, which may lead to overt or occult bleeding. Clinical manifestations of hepatic coagulopathy include upper and lower gastrointestinal hemorrhage, easy bruising and bleeding from gums, nose or the female genital tract. The most significant bleeding problem among patients with chronic liver disease is blood loss due to portal hypertension. About 30% of subjects with esophageal or gastric varices resulting from cirrhosis have an episode of gastrointestinal bleeding in their lifetime. Risk factors for the first episode of variceal bleeding include the severity of liver dysfunction, large varices, and the presence of endoscopic red color signs. Bacterial infection in patients with variceal hemorrhage may be critical in triggering bleeding. Nongastrointestinal bleeding events, either spontaneous or induced by minor trauma, are also a common complication of advanced cirrhosis. In women, for instance, dysfunctional uterine bleeding may become so severe that hysterectomy is required. In addition, invasive diagnostic tests (mostly solid tissue biopsies) and surgical procedures have a high risk of hemorrhage and are sometimes withheld in cirrhotic patients for fear of complications. In patients with portal hypertension, surgical procedures aggravate the injury of the hepatic parenchyma and may worsen the condition.