Clinical analysis and strategy for liver transplantation in patients with pre-existing portal vein thrombosis

Tsung Han Wu, Yann Sheng Lin, Chen Fang Lee, Ting Jung Wu, Ming Chin Yu, Kun Ming Chan*, Wei Chen Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Liver transplantation (LT) in patients with portal vein thrombosis (PVT) remains a challenge for transplant surgeons. In this study, we included a group of patients with PVT who underwent LT, and analyzed patient outcomes. Methods: A total of 356 patients who underwent LT consisting of 167 cases of deceased donor LT and 189 cases of live donor LT at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital Linkou Medical Center between September 1996 and June 2009 were retrospectively reviewed; 24 (6.7%) of these patients had PVT at transplantation. Their clinical features, surgical management, and outcomes were analyzed. Results: Surgical management of patients with PVT included a thrombectomy followed by direct anastomosis between the recipient's and the liver graft portal vein (PV) (n = 13), interposition vein graft between the recipient's coronary vein (CV) and the liver graft PV (n = 3), direct anastomosis of the recipient's CV and the liver graft PV (n = 1), interposition jump graft from the recipient's superior mesenteric vein to the liver graft PV (n = 4), and transection of the thrombotic PV followed by interposition of a venous graft between the recipient's PV and the liver graft PV (n = 3). There were 7 hospital mortalities. The mean follow-up for the 17 surviving patients was 36.3 months (range, 3.4-105.1 months), and 14 patients were still alive at the end of the study. Four patients (16.7%) had rethrombosis of portal inflow after LT. Patients with PVT undergoing LT had a significantly higher mortality rate (p = 0.033) than patients without PVT undergoing LT. However, there was no significant difference in the cumulative survival rates (p = 0.0696). Further analysis of patient survival according to PVT grade, venous graft application, and reconstructed portal flow routes also exhibited no significant differences. Conclusions: LT for patients with PVT is clinically feasible and should not be considered a contraindication. However, a favorable outcome is achievable only with ideal surgical management to overcome PVT during LT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-434
Number of pages9
JournalChang Gung Medical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2011


  • Liver transplantation
  • Outcome
  • Portal vein thrombosis
  • Surgical management


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