The prevalence and pathogenesis of portal vein thrombosis (PVT) in patients with cirrhosis without hepatocellular carcinoma are not clearly defined. The role of thrombophilic genetic factors is well established in other venous thrombotic diseases, as well as in noncirrhotic portal thrombosis. Recently, new, inherited thrombophilic disorders (factor V Leiden [FVL], mutation G20210A of prothrombin [PTHR A(20210)], and mutation TT677 of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase [MTHFR C677-->T]) have been identified and associated with increased risk of venous thrombosis. The aim of our study was to investigate the role of these thrombophilic disorders in the pathogenesis of PVT in cirrhotic patients. Twenty-three cirrhotic patients with PVT and 40 cirrhotics without PVT were included. A group of 184 patients with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and 431 healthy persons served as controls. The FVL, PTHR A(20210), and MTHFR C(677)-->T genotypes were identified by a polymerase chain reaction and restriction analysis. The frequencies of FVL, PTHR A(20210) mutation, and homozygous MTHFR C(677)-->T were 13%, 34.8%, and 43.5% in cirrhotic patients with PVT and 7.5%, 2.5%, and 5% in cirrhotic patients without PVT, respectively. Five patients in the former group had associated defects. A thrombophilic genotype was detected in 69.5% of the patients with PVT. Identification of this high-risk group may have implications in patients who are candidates for major surgery or liver transplantation, and may influence the duration of oral anticoagulation.