Right heart and pulmonary thromboembolism from extensive splanchnic vein thrombosis after splenectomy for myeloproliferative disease

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Splenectomy is a risk factor for both portal-vein and chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. The underlying mechanism is unclear, but may involve a hypercoagulable state.


We describe 1 patient with polycythemia vera who developed extensive portal thrombosis of the portal, suprahepatic, and inferior cava veins, leading to right heart thromboembolism, with a resultant pulmonary embolism subsequent to splenectomy despite heparin prophylaxis.


In this patient, several mechanisms may have played a role, including perioperative stress, thrombocytosis, thrombophilia, and associated chronic liver disease. Nevertheless, combined treatment with intravenous heparin and thrombolysis and the myeloproliferative inhibitor hydroxyurea was associated with a favorable outcome.


The risk of pulmonary thromboembolic complications and their management after splenectomies for hematologic disease warrant further study.

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