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Endoscopy. 2002 Jul;34(7):535-8.

Portal vein thrombosis after variceal endoscopic sclerotherapy in cirrhotic patients: role of genetic thrombophilia.

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  • 1Gastroenterology Unit, A. Cardarelli Hospital, Naples, Italy.



Portal vein thrombosis is a rare event in patients with liver cirrhosis in the absence of a related neoplasm. Endoscopic sclerotherapy of esophageal varices has been anecdotally associated with the development of portal vein thrombosis. We tested the hypothesis that genetic thrombophilia plays a role in the development of portal vein thrombosis in patients with liver cirrhosis undergoing endoscopic sclerotherapy.


From June 1998 to December 1999, 61 consecutive patients underwent multiple sessions of endoscopic sclerotherapy for bleeding esophageal varices. Doppler ultrasound of the portal vein was performed before sclerotherapy and every 3 months thereafter. Antiphospholipid antibodies, factor V Leiden (FVL) mutation, prothrombin mutation G20210A (PTHRA20210) and mutation TT677 of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR C677T) were evaluated in all patients.


Portal vein thrombosis developed in 16 % of the patients (10 of 61) after a mean follow-up period of 16 months. A genetic cause for thrombosis was found in 70 % of patients with liver cirrhosis who developed portal vein occlusion, but only in 8 % of patients without this complication.


Endoscopic sclerotherapy of esophageal varices may represent a trigger factor for portal vein thrombosis in cirrhotic patients with genetic thrombophilia.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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