Thromboembolic complications following splenectomy for hematologic diseases occur in up to 10% of patients and may range from portal vein thrombosis (PVT) to pulmonary embolism (PE) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Up to now there exist no recommendations for the duration and intensity of prophylactic anticoagulation, which usually follows local institutional protocols. We report on three consecutive patients with severe portal vein thrombosis and/or pulmonary embolism--one with fatal outcome--7 to 35 days after splenectomy for autoimmune hemolytic anemia, immunothrombocytopenia, and indolent lymphoma, respectively. Incidence and pathophysiology of thromboembolic events (TE) in this patient group as well as prophylactic anticoagulation will be discussed, including a review of the current literature on this topic.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.