Key points: (a) The lifetime risk of portal vein thrombosis (PVT) is approximately 1%; (b) The portal vein is formed by the union of the splenic and superior mesenteric veins posterior to the pancreas; (c) Imaging modalities most frequently used to diagnose PVT include sonography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging; (d) Malignancy, hepatic cirrhosis, surgical trauma, and hypercoagulable conditions are the most common risk factors for the development of PVT; (e) PVT eventually leads to the formation of numerous collateral vessels around the thrombosed portal vein; (f) First-line treatment for PVT is therapeutic anticoagulation-it helps prevent the progression of the thrombotic process; (g) Other therapeutic options include surgery and interventional radiographic procedures including mechanical thrombectomy and thrombolysis; (h) Portal biliopathy is a clinicopathologic entity characterized by biliary abnormalities due to portal hypertension secondary to PVT and appears to be more common in cases of extrahepatic PVT.
Republished with permission from: Quarrie R, Stawicki SP. Portal vein thrombosis: What surgeons need to know. OPUS 12 Scientist 2008;2(3):30-33.
Keywords: Complications; pathophysiology; portal vein thrombosis; risk factors; therapeutic interventions.