Thrombosis of the portal venous system after splenectomy for pediatric hematologic disease

J Pediatr Surg. 1993 Sep;28(9):1109-12. doi: 10.1016/0022-3468(93)90141-7.


Splenic, portal, or mesenteric venous thrombosis after splenectomy for hematologic disease has not been reported in the pediatric literature. It is a rare complication associated with significant morbidity and mortality in adult reports. Between 1981 and 1991, 3 patients (13-year-old boy with hereditary elliptocytosis [HE], 13-year-old boy with thalassemia intermedia [TI], and 18-year-old girl with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura [ITP]) presented with abdominal pain, nausea, with or without fever, at 4, 11, and 13 days postsplenectomy, respectively. Abdominal Doppler ultrasound (US) and/or computed tomography (CT) showed: (1) an intraluminal filling defect with partial obstruction to flow in the right branch of the portal vein with the remaining vessels patent (HE); (2) splenic vein thrombosis with complete occlusion of the main portal vein and proximal superior mesenteric vein (TI); and (3) complete thrombosis of the splenic vein, proximal superior mesenteric vein and portal vein (including central radicles), with retrogastric collateralization (ITP). Subsequent imaging showed either complete resolution of vascular obstruction on no treatment (patient 1), or portal venous cavernomatous transformation with hepatofugal flow after 6 months of systemic anticoagulation (patients 2 and 3), and all 3 patients are currently asymptomatic. Postoperative sonographic evaluation of a consecutive series of pediatric splenectomies for hematologic disease (n = 16), was performed at a median of 51 days (range, 3 to 124). This demonstrated one case of asymptomatic left portal venous thrombosis with subsequent recanalization in the absence of treatment.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Hematologic Diseases / surgery*
  • Heparin / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Portal Vein*
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnostic imaging
  • Postoperative Complications / drug therapy
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Splenectomy*
  • Thrombosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Thrombosis / drug therapy
  • Thrombosis / etiology*
  • Ultrasonics
  • Ultrasonography
  • Warfarin / therapeutic use


  • Warfarin
  • Heparin