We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Portal Circulation?

By H. Colledge
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Portal circulation is the flow of blood from one organ to another, without going through the heart. The term is most often used to refer to how blood moves through the network of veins in the gut and digestive organs, such as the spleen and pancreas, and is carried to the liver. This particular system is known as the hepatic portal system, although it's also sometimes — and somewhat inaccurately — called the portal venous system.

Blood within the hepatic portal system contains all the nutrients absorbed by the digestive tract, which can then be processed by the liver. Useful substances may be adapted for use or stored, while harmful substances are removed and may be converted into less toxic forms. Sometimes, obstructions occur in the portal circulation and pressure builds up, leading to a condition known as portal hypertension.

Networks of tiny blood vessels, known as capillaries, form the beginning of the portal circulation. These capillaries drain blood from the digestive system, all the way from the lowest part of the esophagus to the last section of gut which leads to the anus. Similar networks of capillaries drain the pancreas, spleen and gallbladder.

After leaving the capillaries, blood in the portal circulation empties into larger veins. The splenic vein drains the spleen, and the superior and inferior mesenteric veins carry blood from the large and small intestine. Veins known as the right and left gastric veins take blood from the stomach and esophagus, while the gallbladder is drained by the cystic veins. All of these veins empty into a larger blood vessel known as the portal vein, which splits into left and right branches, both of which enter the liver.

Inside the liver, the portal circulation drains into spaces known as hepatic sinusoids, where glucose and other sugars are processed. Any excess amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, are removed and used to make a substance called urea. This is later processed by the kidneys and eliminated from the body in urine. In the sinusoids, immune system cells are present which remove any harmful microbes from the blood.

After passing through the portal circulation and the liver, blood drains into either the left or right hepatic vein. The hepatic veins leave the liver, emptying into a vein called the inferior vena cava, which is part of the systemic blood circulation that carries blood back to the heart. From the inferior vena cava, blood is delivered to the right upper chamber of the heart, or right atrium, before being ejected from the right lower chamber, or ventricle, into the pulmonary circulation of the lungs, where oxygen is added.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By miriam98 — On Oct 16, 2011

@nony - If you’ve ever seen a picture of varicose veins, you have a big incentive to have a healthy circulatory system.

No woman wants varicose veins. They are unsightly and embarrassing, and unlike magazine photos that can be touched up or air brushed, it’s almost impossible to hide your varicose veins.

Do you know how these veins are created? Have you ever driven on a highway where a route was closed, and you had to take detour off ramps?

That’s what varicose veins are – the body’s way of creating detours around the portal area where a blockage of some sort has occurred. Keep your body fit through exercise, detoxification and good nutrition – and your body won’t have to create detours to keep your blood flowing.

By nony — On Oct 15, 2011

@allenJo - Poor circulation can cause a lot of problems in my opinion. I sit a lot all day and sometimes my legs feel numb. I try to do some cardiovascular exercises to get the blood flowing and get oxygen pumping into my heart.

I think that once your heart pumps normally and blood flows the way it’s supposed to, it will clean up a lot of toxic waste products in its path, prevent you from having a host of health issues.

Otherwise, the toxic stuff will just congeal and build up, creating blockages.

By allenJo — On Oct 14, 2011

A lot of people don’t know about portal hypertension, but I think it can be just as harmful as damage to the heart.

It results because of a blockage that impairs the body’s ability to let blood flow from the portal area to the liver. One of the symptoms of this condition is blood in the stool.

Of course, this can be indicative of other things as well, and you should definitely get it checked out to see if that is the correct diagnosis. I have a friend who had cirrhosis of the liver and that was one of the first symptoms he had.

Other symptoms will be detected through X-rays and other tests that the doctors will run. I also don’t recommend that as a habit, you drink too much alcohol or anything that inhibits the liver’s ability to cleanse and purify your body.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.