Transplantation| Volume 168, ISSUE 6, P1160-1168, December 2020

Liver transplantation in patients with portal vein thrombosis: A strategic road map throughout management

Published:August 26, 2020DOI:



      Liver transplantation in the setting of portal vein thrombosis is an intricate issue that occasionally necessitates extraordinary procedures for portal flow restoration. However, to date, there is no consensus on a persistent management strategy, particularly with extensive forms. This work aims to introduce our experience-based surgical management algorithm for portal vein thrombosis during liver transplantation and to clarify some of the debatable circumstances associated with this problematic issue.


      Between 2006 and 2019, 494 adults underwent liver transplantation at our institute. Ninety patients had preoperative portal vein thrombosis, and 79 patients underwent living donor liver transplantation. Our algorithm trichotomized the management plan into 3 pathways based on portal vein thrombosis grade. The surgical procedures implemented included thrombectomy, interposition vein grafts, jump grafts from the superior mesenteric vein, jump grafts from a collateral and renoportal anastomosis in 56, 13, 11, 4, and 2 patients, respectively. Four patients with mural thrombi did not require any special intervention.


      Thirteen patients experienced posttransplant portal vein complications. They all proved to have a patent portal vein by the end of follow-up regardless of the management modality. No significant survival difference was observed between cohorts with versus without portal vein thrombosis. The early graft loss rate was significantly higher with advanced grades (P = .048) as well as technically demanding procedures (P = .032).


      A stepwise broad-minded strategy should always be adopted when approaching advanced portal vein thrombosis during liver transplantation. An industrious preoperative evaluation should always be carried out to locate the ideal reliable source for portal flow restoration.
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