Role of Doppler Sonography in Early Detection of Splenic Steal Syndrome

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To retrospectively investigate the role of Doppler sonography in the early detection of splenic steal syndrome.


Fifty cases of splenic steal syndrome after orthotopic liver transplantation were identified. A control group was matched to the splenic steal syndrome group. Information was collected about the clinical presentation, liver enzyme levels, Doppler sonographic results, and follow-up after patients underwent splenic artery embolization.


A persistent hepatic arterial diastolic reversal waveform was observed in 25 patients with splenic steal syndrome versus 0 control patients. The mean hepatic arterial resistive index (RI) values ± SD were 0.95 ± 0.09 in patients with splenic steal syndrome and 0.80 ± 0.10 in control patients (P < .0001). One week after orthotopic liver transplantation, the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the RI was 0.884 (95% confidence interval, 0.793–0.975; P = .001) for splenic steal syndrome diagnosis. After splenic artery embolization, there was normalization of the reversal waveform, with an average RI of 0.77 ± 0.11 (P < .0001).


Dynamic changes in the hepatic arterial waveform and RI are keys to detecting splenic steal syndrome with Doppler sonography.

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