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JAMA Surg. 2013 Apr;148(4):340-6. doi: 10.1001/jamasurg.2013.1053.

Portomesenteric thrombosis following laparoscopic bariatric surgery: incidence, patterns of clinical presentation, and etiology in a bariatric patient population.

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Department of Surgery C, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, 52621 Israel.



To describe the incidence of, the patterns of clinical presentation of, and the reasons for portomesenteric vein thrombosis among patients who underwent laparoscopic bariatric surgery.


Retrospective, multicenter study.


Six academic bariatric centers.


Morbidly obese patients diagnosed with portomesenteric vein thrombosis following laparoscopic bariatric surgery between January 2007 and June 2012.


Clinical presentation, diagnostic measures used, treatments employed, outcome, and hematologic workup of patients.


Of 5706 patients who underwent laparoscopic bariatric surgery, 17 (0.3%) had portomesenteric vein thrombosis, 16 after sleeve gastrectomy and 1 following adjustable gastric banding. Seven patients were women, the mean age was 38 years, and the mean body mass index was 44.3. The median time to presentation was 10.1 days, and the median time to diagnosis was 11.7 days. New-onset epigastric pain was present in all patients, whereas other signs and symptoms were sporadically found. Computed tomography was performed and was diagnostic in 16 cases. Ultrasonography was used for 9 patients, and positive results were found for 8 of these patients. Patients were treated by anticoagulation with subcutaneous low-molecular-weight heparin (n = 15) or intravenous heparin (n = 2), followed by warfarin sodium. One patient underwent transhepatic portal infusion of streptokinase. Three patients required surgery: laparoscopic splenectomy due to infarct and abscess for 1 patient and laparotomy for 2 patients (with necrotic small-bowl resection for 1 of these patients). There were no deaths.


Portomesenteric vein thrombosis is rare after laparoscopic bariatric surgery. Familiarity with this dangerous entity is important. Prompt diagnosis and care, initiated by a high index of suspicion, is crucial.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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