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Hyperemia, Types (including Active Hyperemia), Causes, Symptoms
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Hyperemia is an excessive amount of blood or an increase in blood volume within an organ or a tissue that can be caused by vasodilation or diminished venous outflow.

Types of hyperemia

Hyperemia is divided into two types:

  1. Active hyperemia is an active process in which the affected tissues are redder than normal because of engorgement with oxygenated blood.
  2. Congestion (passive hyperemia): these tissues have an abnormal blue-red color that due to accumulation of deoxygenated blood in the affected area. Congestion is further devided into acute and chronic.

Causes of hyperemia

Each type of hyperemia has a different cause:

  1. Active hyperemia: This is caused by an arteriolar dilation and increased blood inflow (e.g., blushing, inflammation, exercising).
  2. Congestion (passive hyperemia): it is caused by obstructed venous return or increased back pressure from congestive heart failure (resulting from impaired outflow of venous blood).
    • Acute passive congestion occurs in sudden right-sided heart failure, shock or acute inflammation.
    • Chronic passive congestion of lung is caused most often by left-sided heart failure, while Chronic passive congestion of the liver and lower extremities is most often caused by right-sided heart failure


Generally the symptoms involve:

  • swelling
  • redness
  • affected area warmer than normal

1. Vinay Kumar, Abul K. Abbas, Jon C. Aster/ Robbins Basic Pathology/ 9th edition/ philadephia, United states/ Elsevier-Health sciences Divition/ 2012

2. Mary Elizabeth Peyton Gupta/ Board Review Series BRS/ 5th edition/ United States/ Wolters Kluwer Health/ 2014

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