Varices may be visible below the tongue or on the valleculae. These can be a source of hemoptysis that may go unrecognized.


Locations where the varices may be found:

(1) sublingual (called "caviar lesions" because of the resemblance to caviar)

(2) base of the tongue

(3) valleculae

(4) lip

(5) buccal mucosa


Underlying conditions:

(1) old age

(2) portal hypertension

(3) right heart failure


Varices due to portal or jugular hypertension may be multifocal, involving more than one superficial site.


These may be asymptomatic, or they may give rise to significant bleeding with massive hemoptysis.


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