Traumatic injury to the portal vein

Ann Surg. 1975 May;181(5):519-22. doi: 10.1097/00000658-197505000-00003.


Traumatic injuries to the upper abdominal vasculature pose difficult management problems related to both exposure and associated injuries. Among those injuries that are more difficult to manage are those involving the portal vein. While occurring rarely, portal vein injuries require specific therapeutic considerations. Between January, 1968, and July, 1974, over 2000 patients were treated operatively for abdominal trauma at the Ben Taub General Hospital. Among these patients, 22 had injury to the portal vein. Seventeen portal vein injuries were secondary to gunshot wounds, 3 to stab wounds, and 2 to blunt trauma. Associated injuries to the inferior vena cava, pancreas, liver and bile ducts were common. Three patients had associated abdominal aortic injuries, two with acute aorto-caval fistulae. Nine patients died from from failure to control hemorrhage. Eleven were long-term survivors, including two who required pancreataico-duodenectomy as well as portal venorrhaphy. Late complications were rare. The operative approach to patients with traumatic injuries to multiple organs in the upper abdomen, including the portal vein, requires aggressive management and predetermined sequential methods of repair. In spite of innumerable associated injuries, portal vein injuries can be successfully managed in a significant number of patients using generally available surgical techniques and several adjunctive maneuvers.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Injuries / surgery
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hemorrhage / surgery
  • Humans
  • Ligation
  • Liver / injuries
  • Male
  • Methods
  • Pancreas / injuries
  • Portal Vein / injuries*
  • Vena Cava, Inferior / injuries
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications