Saturday, January 26, 2019

Treating portal vein thrombosis in patients with cirrhosis


•LMWH is effective in about 60% of LC with PVT patients.
•The resolution of thrombus associated with LMWH use is accompanied by improvement in liver function.
•It is more effective for PVT treatment to start LMWH early and to maintain it for a long time.
•LMWH treatment of usual dose and schedule is tolerable for LC patients.



Portal vein thrombosis (PVT) is a well-known complication in patients with liver cirrhosis (LC). The aim of this study is to investigate the outcomes of cirrhotic patients with PVT treated with low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH).


Ninety-one LC patients with PVT were treated with dalteparin or enoxaparin for six months. Patients with major bleeding during the last three months, severe thrombocytopenia, or impaired renal function were excluded.


The median age was 62.9 years, and 59 patients had hepatocellular carcinoma. The overall recanalization rate was 61.5%. Patients with a favorable Child-Pugh class and those recently diagnosed as having a thrombus showed significantly better responses. In those who responded to the anticoagulation therapy, the post-treatment bilirubin and platelet levels were improved compared to those in the pre-treatment state. The relapse rate for PVT was 56.6%, and the median time to relapse was 4.0 months. Bleeding was reported in 13 patients (14.4%), and two patients died due to fatal bleeding. A history of variceal bleeding and low serum albumin were risk factors for bleeding.


LMWH therapy for PVT in LC is effective. Advanced LC and a delayed start of anticoagulation treatment decrease the effect of LMWH. Despite its effectiveness, there is a risk of hemorrhage, hence anticoagulation should be carefully considered, especially in patients with advanced LC and a history of variceal bleeding.

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