Background: Portal vein thrombosis (PVT) has been described after splenectomy, but the factors associated with its development and the clinical outcomes are poorly characterized. Methods: Case logs of four surgeons from 1996 to 2001 were retrospectively reviewed to identify cases of postsplenectomy PVT. Results: Eight cases of PVT (8%) among 101 splenectomies were identified. Indications for splenectomy in patients with PVT were myeloproliferative disease (n = 4), hemolytic anemia (n = 3), and myelodysplastic disorder (n = 1). All patients had splenomegaly (mean 1698 g, range 360 to 3150 g). Among 10 patients with myeloproliferative disease (MP), 4 patients (40%) developed PVT, compared with 4 of 12 patients (25%) with hemolytic anemia. Three of 4 patients (75%) with MP disease and spleen weight greater than 3,000 g developed PVT. Five patients developed PVT despite receiving prophylactic subcutaneous heparin postoperatively. Presenting symptoms included anorexia in 7 (88%), abdominal pain in 6 (75%), and both elevated leukocyte and platelet counts in 8 patients (100%). All diagnoses were made by contrast-enhanced computed tomography scan, and anticoagulation was initiated immediately. One patient died of intraabdominal sepsis; the others are alive with no clinical sequelae at 38 months of follow-up. Conclusions: PVT is a relatively common complication of splenectomy in patients with splenomegaly. A high index of suspicion, early diagnosis by contrast-enhanced computed tomography, and prompt anticoagulation are key to a successful outcome.
- Mesenteric vein thrombosis
- Portal vein thrombosis