Management of Nonneoplastic Portal Vein Thrombosis in the Setting of Liver Transplantation: A Systematic Review

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Nonneoplastic portal vein thrombosis (PVT) is frequent in patients with cirrhosis who undergo liver transplantation (LT); however, data on its impact on outcome and strategies of management are sparse.


A systematic review of the literature was performed by analyzing studies that report on PVT in LT recipients and were published between January 1986 and January 2012.


Of 25,753 liver transplants, 2004 were performed in patients with PVT (7.78%), and approximately half presented complete thrombosis. Thrombectomy/thromboendovenectomy was employed in 75% of patients; other techniques included venous graft interposition and portocaval hemitransposition. Overall, the presence of PVT significantly increased 30-day (10.5%) and 1-year (18.8%) post-LT mortality when compared to patients without PVT (7.7% and 15.4%, respectively). However, only complete PVT accounted for this increased mortality. Rethrombosis occurred in up to 13% of patients with complete PVT and in whom no preventative strategies were used, and was associated with increased morbidity and mortality.


PVT is common in patients with cirrhosis undergoing LT, and it affects survival when it is complete, at least in the short term after transplant. Therefore, screening for this condition is essential, alongside adequate treatment strategies to attempt repermeation of the PV and prevent thrombosis extension.

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