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Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 1997 Jun;18(2):199-201.

Noncirrhotic portal vein thrombosis causing sudden unexpected death. A rare cause of fatally ruptured esophageal varices.

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Department of Pathology, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson 85724, USA.


Noncirrhotic portal vein thrombosis (PVT) is a rare disease that usually presents with small nonfatal "herald bleeding" with low mortality. Classic findings of noncirrhotic PVT include esophageal varices, splenomegaly, a normal liver, and an organized thrombus of the portal vein. We present a case of previously unreported sudden unexpected death from noncirrhotic PVT in an asymptomatic elderly woman, review the literature of this entity, and examine the pathophysiology of the formation of fatally ruptured varices. The portal vein must be carefully examined in all cases where there is no coexisting cirrhosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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