SINCE Kehne et al found that surgical posterior pituitary injection (Pituitrin) was useful in controlling bleeding from esophageal varices,10 considerable research has been done to study the effect of vasopressin (LRD, II) (the active principle of posterior pituitary injection) on portal hemodynamics.
Clark described the portal hypotensive effect of posterior pituitary injection in 1928.3 He found little or no effect on inferior vena cava pressures from the injection of posterior pituitary injection.
Eiseman and co-workers in 1959 reported that parenteral administration of vasopressin reduced portal pressure and oxygen content.5 They found that these changes were independent of hemodynamic changes within the liver since they occurred after end-to-side portocaval shunt. It was felt that vasopressin acted on both the stomach and small bowel since excision of either alone did not abolish the effect of the drug. The effect of vasopressin was felt to be mediated by closure of