Four patients with Felty's syndrome developed massive upper gastrointestinal bleeding due to oesophageal varices. The underlying hepatic pathology in all 4 was nodular regenerative hyperplasia. This appears to be a difficult histological diagnosis to make, having been initially reported as normal on percutaneous biopsy or as fibrosis or cirrhosis on wedge biopsy. This series brings the total number of cases reported in the English literature of this association to 12, suggesting a definite symptom complex. The portal hypertension seems to be due to a combination of increased splenic blood flow and postsinusoidal resistance. The clinical importance of this syndrome is that the appropriate therapy for bleeding oesophageal varices appears to be shunt procedure such as a splenorenal shunt with splenectomy, which should be well tolerated.
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