Catheter-directed therapy for DVT after pancreas transplantation

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IntroductionIliac vein deep venous thrombosis (DVT) ipsilateral to the pancreas transplant can lead to severe leg edema and compromise graft function. Treatment modalities for iliac vein DVT in the pancreas transplant recipient are limited.MethodsMedical records of patients receiving pancreas transplants at a single center from November 1989 to July 2003 were reviewed retrospectively, identifying patients with iliac vein DVT. There were 287 pancreas transplants performed during this time. Pancreas transplantation in all recipients was performed in the right iliac fossa with the arterial supply consisting of a donor iliac artery Y interposition graft. Systemic venous drainage was to the iliac vein. Exocrine drainage was enteric or to the bladder.ResultsFour (1.4%) cases of iliac DVT were identified. All patients manifested lower extremity edema ipsilateral to the pancreas transplant. DVT was detected by ultrasound on days 4, 5, 13, and 60 post-transplant. In all cases, the iliac vein caudad to the pancreatic venous anastomosis was noted to be stenotic. Management involved balloon dilatation and endovascular stent placement in one patient, thrombolysis with tissue plasma antigen (t-PA) followed by stent placement in one patient, and percutaneous mechanical thrombectomy in two patients. All patients had improvement in leg edema and two patients continue to have good pancreatic allograft function.ConclusionsIliac DVT is a rare complication of pancreas transplantation that usually develops in an area of stenosis caudad to the pancreatic venous anastomosis. Catheter-based treatment modalities with use of endovascular stents for treatment of underlying stenoses can serve as an adjunct in treating these complications.

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