Hyperemia: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Complications, Perspective and Prognosis

It is a more significant amount of blood in the vessels of an organ or tissue in the body.

It can affect many different organs, including:

  • Liver.
  • Heart.
  • Skin.
  • Eyes
  • Brain.

Types of hyperemia

There are two types of hyperemia:

Active hyperemia:

It occurs when there is an increase in the blood supply to an organ. This is usually in response to an increased demand for blood, for example, if you are exercising.

Passive hyperemia:

When the blood can not get out of an organ correctly, it accumulates in the blood vessels. This type of hyperemia is also known as congestion.


Each type of hyperemia has a different cause.

Active hyperemia is caused by increased blood flow to the organs. It usually occurs when organs need more blood than usual. Your blood vessels widen to increase the supply of blood that flows.


The causes of active hyperemia include:

  • Exercise: Your heart and muscles need more oxygen when you are active. The blood rushes to these organs to supply extra oxygen. Your muscles need up to 20 times your regular blood supply during a workout.
  • Heat: When you have a high fever or it is hot outside, extra blood flows to your skin to help your body release heat.
  • Digestion: After eating, the stomach and intestines need more blood to help them break down food and absorb nutrients.
  • Inflammation: During an injury or infection, the blood flow to the site increases.
  • Menopause: Women who are in menopause often have hot flashes, which cause a flow of blood to the skin, especially on the face, neck, and chest.
  • Releasing a blockage: Hyperemia can occur after ischemia and poor blood flow to an organ. Once the ischemia is treated, blood flows to the area.

Passive hyperemia occurs when blood can not adequately drain from an organ and begins to accumulate in blood vessels.

The causes of passive hyperemia include:

  • Heart failure or ventricular failure:  When the heart can not beat well enough to push blood through the body, blood recedes. This backing causes swelling or congestion in organs such as the liver, lungs, spleen, and kidneys.
  • A clot causes deep vein thrombosis in one of the deep veins, often in the lower part of the legs. The chunk can be released and lodged in a vein in the lung, called a pulmonary embolism.
  • Hepatic venous thrombosis: Also called Budd-Chiari syndrome, it is a blockage in the veins of the liver caused by a blood clot.


The main symptoms of hyperemia are:

  • Redness.
  • Hot.

Other symptoms depend on the cause of the problem.

Symptoms of heart failure include:

  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Cough or wheezing
  • Swelling in the belly, legs, ankles, or feet is caused by fluid accumulation.
  • Fatigue.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea.
  • Confusion.
  • Accelerated heartbeat.

The symptoms of deep vein thrombosis include:

  • Swelling and redness in the leg.
  • Pain.
  • Hot.

The symptoms of hepatic venous thrombosis include:

  • Pain in the upper right part of your abdomen.
  • Swelling in your legs and ankles.
  • Cramps in your legs and feet.
  • Itch.


Hyperemia itself is not treated because it is just a sign of an underlying condition. Active hyperemia caused by exercise, digestion, or heat does not need treatment. The blood flow will decrease once you stop exercising, digest your food or get out of the heat.

The causes of passive hyperemia can be treated. Doctors treat heart failure by addressing the cause of the disease, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

The treatments include:

  • A healthy diet for the heart.
  • Exercise.
  • Weight loss, if you are overweight.
  • Medications such as ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers reduce blood pressure or digoxin to strengthen the heartbeat.

Deep vein thrombosis is treated with anticoagulants such as heparin or warfarin (Coumadin). These medications prevent the blood clot from enlarging and prevent the body from producing new nuggets.

If these medications do not work, you can get anticoagulant medications called thrombolytics to break the clot quickly. You can also use compression stockings to stop the inflammation of the DVT’s legs.

Hepatic venous thrombosis is also treated with anticoagulants. You may also need medications to treat liver disease.


Hyperemia itself does not cause complications. The conditions that cause hyperemia can have difficulties such as:

  • Heart valve problems.
  • Damage or renal failure.
  • Heart rhythm problems.
  • Damage or liver failure.
  • A blood clot that lodges in a blood vessel in the lung.

Perspective and forecast

The prognosis depends on the cause of the increase in blood in the blood vessels.

Heart failure is a chronic disease. Although you can not cure it, you can control your symptoms with medication and changes in your lifestyle.

Deep vein thrombosis can be treated, but you should monitor the symptoms because they may reappear in the future.