Liver Transplantation in the Presence of Old Portal Vein Thrombosis

F Kakaei, S Nikeghbalian, H Salahi, A Bahador, K Kazemi, M Dehghani, A Shamsaeefar, B Sanei, S Ghaffaripour, E Rajaei, S Gholami, S A Malek-Hosseini


Background: Portal vein thrombosis (PVT) has been mentioned as a potential obstacle to liver transplantation (LTx).

Objective: To review the impact of PVT on orthotopic liver transplant (OLT) outcome.

Method: Between January 2006 and April 2009, 440 OLT were performed in Shiraz Transplant Unit of whom, 35 (7.9%) cases had old PVT with recanalization. Data were retrospectively collected regarding the demographics,
indication for OLT, Child-Turgot-Pugh classification, pre-transplant diagnosis of PVT, perioperative course and managements, relapse of PVT, early post-operative mortality and morbidity. All patients received liver from deceased donors, underwent thrombendvenectomy with end-to-end anastomosis without interposition graft and evaluated daily for 5 days and thereafter, biweekly by duplex sonography during the follow-up period for 2 months. They were treated by therapeutic doses of heparin followed by warfarin to maintain an INR of 2–2.5.

Results: The causes of end-stage liver disease were hepatitis B in 11, cryptogenic cirrhosis in 11, primary sclerosing
cholangitis in 5 and other causes in 8 recipients. Extension of thrombosis was through confluence of superior mesenteric and splenic vein in 32 and to superior mesenteric vein in 3 patients. The mean±SD operation time was 7.2±1.5 hrs. The mean±SD transfusion requirement was 5.4±2.8 units of packed cells. The mean±SD duration of hospital stay in these patients was 17.7±10.9 days. Eight patients died; 1 developed early in-hospital PVT, 1 had hepatic vein thrombosis, and 1 died of in-hospital ischemic cerebrovascular accident, despite a full anticoagulant therapy. The mean±SD follow-up period for those 28 patients discharged from hospital was 16.6±7.9 months; none of them developed relapse of PVT. The overall mortality and morbidity was 28% and 32%, respectively. There was no relapse of PVT in the other patients.

Conclusion: The presence of PVT at the time of OLT is not a contraindication for the operation but those with PVT have a more difficult surgery, develop more postoperative complications, and experience a higher in-hospital mortality.


Portal vein thrombosis; liver transplantationl; Iran

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 pISSN: 2008-6482
 eISSN: 2008-6490


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