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Portal vein thrombosis is a common complication following splenectomy in patients with malignant haematological diseases

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Svensson M, Wirén M, Kimby E, Hägglund H. Portal vein thrombosis is a common complication following splenectomy in patients with malignant haematological diseases. Abstract: 

Background: Elective laparoscopic splenectomy (LS) is performed with increasing frequency rather than open splenectomy (OS) because of reduced morbidity. LS is feasible also in patients with haematological diseases with splenomegaly, a group that is subject to more postoperative complications, such as bleeding, infections and portal vein thrombosis (PVT). Method: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 69 patients splenectomised for haematological diseases during a 5-yr period at a single centre with the aim of comparing the results and complications after LS and OS. Results: Thirty-nine patients underwent LS and 30 OS. The median durations of surgery were 138 and 115 min (ns) in the LS and OS groups respectively. Three conversions (7.7%) from laparoscopic surgery to open surgery were necessary because of bleeding and/or splenomegaly. Thromboembolic complications occurred in totally seven of 69 patients. PVT was diagnosed in five of 37 (13.5%) patients with haematological malignancies (three with indolent lymphoma and two with myeloproliferative disease), one after LS and four after OS. All patients with PVT had splenomegaly and had received thromboembolic prophylaxis with low-molecular-weight heparin of short duration. Two patients were diagnosed with deep vein thromboses in the lower leg. Both had idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) and LS. Conclusions: Patients with malignant haematological diseases and splenomegaly seem to have a high risk of developing PVT after splenectomy why careful observation and prolonged thromboprophylaxis is recommended for these patients. Ultrasonography or computerised tomography should be considered in all patients with abdominal symptoms after splenectomy.
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Keywords: deep vein thrombosis; haematological malignancies; idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura; portal vein thrombosis; splenectomy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Haematology Karolinska University Hospital, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden 2: Department of Surgery, Karolinska University Hospital, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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