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Transplantation. 2004 Sep 27;78(6):938-40.

Combined mechanical and pharmacologic thrombolysis for portal vein thrombosis in liver-graft recipients and in candidates for liver transplantation.

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Dipartimento di Scienze Radiologiche ed Istocitopatologiche, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.


Portal vein thrombosis (PVT) is an uncommon cause for presinusoidal portal hypertension and can occur even in liver-graft recipients. Interventional radiology by percutaneous approach may represent a valid and less invasive alternative to surgical treatment. We describe three cases of PVT (2 liver-transplant patients and a cirrhotic patient candidate for liver transplantation) treated by combined mechanical and pharmacologic thrombolysis. The Arrow-Trerotola device was used along with the infusion of urokinase by way of a percutaneous-transhepatic approach. In all cases, a recanalization of the portal system was obtained and maintained during the follow-up. The best result was achieved when mechanical thrombectomy was performed before urokinase infusion. The combined locoregional treatment with mechanical thrombectomy and pharmacologic thrombolysis appears to be a promising approach for PVT because of its rapid and durable effect and its ability to reduce the dose of urokinase required to achieve recanalization.

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