Liver atrophy and regeneration in noncirrhotic portal vein thrombosis: Effect of surgical shunts

Abdulrhman S. Elnaggar, Adam D. Griesemer, Stuart Bentley-Hibbert, Robert S. Brown, Mercedes Martinez, Steven J. Lobritto, Tomoaki Kato, Jean C. Emond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The goal of the study is to characterize the relationship between portal vein thrombosis (PVT) and hepatic atrophy in patients without cirrhosis and the effect of various types of surgical shunts on liver regeneration and splenomegaly. Patients without cirrhosis with PVT suffer from presinusoidal portal hypertension, and often hepatic atrophy is a topic that has received little attention. We hypothesized that patients with PVT have decreased liver volumes, and shunts that preserve intrahepatic portal flow enhance liver regeneration. Sixty-four adult and pediatric patients with PVT who underwent surgical shunt placement between 1998 and 2011 were included in a retrospective study. Baseline liver volumes from adult patients were compared with standard liver volume (SLV) as well as a group of healthy controls undergoing evaluation for liver donation. Clinical assessment, liver function tests, and liver and spleen volumes from cross-sectional imaging were compared before and after surgery. A total of 40 patients received portal flow–preserving shunts (32 mesoportal and 8 selective splenorenal), whereas 24 received portal flow–diverting shunts (16 nonselective splenorenal and 8 mesocaval). Baseline adult liver volumes were 26% smaller than SLV (1248 versus 1624 cm3; P = 0.02) and 20% smaller than the control volumes (1248 versus 1552 cm3; P = 0.02). Baseline adult spleen volumes were larger compared with controls (1258 versus 229 cm3; P < 0.001). Preserving shunts were associated with significant increase in liver volumes (886 versus 1131 cm3; P = 0.01), whereas diverting shunts were not. Diverting shunts significantly improved splenomegaly. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that patients without cirrhosis with PVT have significant liver atrophy and splenomegaly. Significant liver regeneration was achieved after portal flow–preserving shunts. Liver Transplantation 24 881–887 2018 AASLD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)881-887
Number of pages7
JournalLiver Transplantation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Hepatology
  • Transplantation


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