The prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection is increasing worldwide. Chronic infection with this virus is one of the most important causes of chronic liver disease. Hepatitis C represents a global epidemic as well, with an estimated 120 million infected individuals worldwide (2% of the world population).
There are no specific ultrasonographic findings for this disease in B mode, but ultrasound helps to identify changes in the echo-architecture which affect all the liver parenchyma.
Duplex Ultrasound, Color Doppler and Power Doppler Imaging are the modalities of choice in the evaluation of the liver and Portal Hypertension. These techniques are noninvasive, rapid, and highly sensitive and specific.
The use of Color Doppler contributes to demonstrate the altered hemodynamic pattern of the portal vein such as slow flow and even reverse flow. The time-averaged velocity usually is on the order of 12-14 cm/s in adults and a value less than 12 cm/s indicates Portal Hypertension.