Portal vein thrombosis: what is new?

María Del Carmen Manzano-Robleda, Beatriz Barranco-Fragoso, Misael Uribe, Nahum Méndez-Sánchez
Annals of Hepatology 2015, 14 (1): 20-7
Portal vein thrombosis (PVT) is one of the most common vascular disorders of the liver with significant morbidity and mortality. Large cohort studies have reported a global prevalence of 1%, but in some risk groups it can be up to 26%. Causes of PVT are cirrhosis, hepatobiliary malignancy, abdominal infectious or inflammatory diseases, and myeloproliferative disorders. Most patients with PVT have a general risk factor. The natural history of PVT results in portal hypertension leading to splenomegaly and the formation of portosystemic collateral blood vessels and esophageal, gastric, duodenal, and jejunal varices. Diagnosis of PVT is made by imaging, mainly Doppler ultrasonography. According to its time of development, localization, pathophysiology, and evolution, PVT should be classified in every patient. Some clinical features such as cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and hepatic transplantation are areas of special interest and are discussed in this review. The goal of treatment of acute PVT is to reconstruct the blocked veins. Endoscopic variceal ligation is safe and highly effective in patients with variceal bleeding caused by chronic PVT. In conclusion, PVT is the most common cause of vascular disease of the liver and its prevalence has being increasing, especially among patients with an underlying liver disease. All patients should be investigated for thrombophilic conditions, and in those with cirrhosis, anticoagulation prophylaxis should be considered.

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