The spectrum of portal vein thrombosis in liver transplantation

Ann Surg. 1991 Mar;213(3):199-206. doi: 10.1097/00000658-199103000-00003.


Thrombosis of the portal vein with or without patency of its tributaries used to be a contraindication to orthotopic liver transplantation (OLTX) until quite recently. Rapid progress in the surgical technique of OLTX in the last few years has demonstrated that most patients with portal vein thrombosis can be safely and successfully transplanted. Presented here is a series of 34 patients with portal vein thrombosis transplanted at the University of Pittsburgh since 1984. The various techniques used to treat various forms of thrombosis are described. The survival rate for this series was 67.6% (23 of 34 patients). Survival was best for patients who underwent phlebothrombectomy or placement of a jump graft from the superior mesenteric vein. The survival rate also correlated with the amount of blood required for transfusion during surgery. Overall it is concluded that a vast majority of the patients with thrombosis of the portal system can be technically transplanted and that their survival rate is comparable to that of patients with patent portal vein.

MeSH terms

  • Anastomosis, Surgical / methods
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation* / mortality
  • Mesenteric Veins / surgery
  • Methods
  • Portal Vein* / pathology
  • Portal Vein* / surgery
  • Survival Rate
  • Thrombosis / complications
  • Thrombosis / pathology
  • Thrombosis / surgery*