Epidemiology of portal vein thrombosis in liver cirrhosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Eur J Intern Med. 2022 Oct:104:21-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2022.05.032. Epub 2022 Jun 7.


Background: Portal vein thrombosis (PVT) may be associated with negative outcomes in patients with liver cirrhosis. However, the prevalence and incidence of PVT in liver cirrhosis are heterogeneous among studies and have not been sufficiently determined yet.

Methods: The PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library databases were searched. Eligible studies would explore the prevalence and/or incidence of PVT in liver cirrhosis without hepatocellular carcinoma or abdominal surgery. Pooled proportion with 95% confidence interval (CI) was calculated using a random-effect model. Factors associated with the presence/occurrence of PVT were also extracted.

Results: Among the 8549 papers initially identified, 74 were included. Fifty-four studies explored the prevalence of PVT in liver cirrhosis with a pooled prevalence of 13.92% (95%CI=11.18-16.91%). Based on cross-sectional data, Child-Pugh class B/C, higher D-dimer, ascites, and use of non-selective beta-blockers (NSBBs) were associated with the presence of PVT in liver cirrhosis. Twenty-three studies explored the incidence of PVT in liver cirrhosis with a pooled incidence of 10.42% (95%CI=8.16-12.92%). Based on cohort data, Child-Pugh class B/C, higher model of end-stage liver disease score, higher D-dimer, lower platelets count, decreased portal flow velocity, ascites, use of NSBBs, and moderate or high-risk esophageal varices could predict the occurrence of PVT in liver cirrhosis.

Conclusion: Approximately one seventh of cirrhotic patients have PVT, and one tenth will develop PVT. Progression of liver cirrhosis and portal hypertension seems to be in parallel with the risk of PVT. Prospective studies with detailed information about classification and extension of PVT in liver cirrhosis are needed.

Keywords: Incidence; Liver cirrhosis; Portal vein thrombosis; Prevalence; Risk factors.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Ascites / pathology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications
  • Liver Cirrhosis / epidemiology
  • Portal Vein* / pathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Venous Thrombosis* / complications


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists