How I treat splanchnic vein thrombosis.

PMID 25320239


Antithrombotic treatment of splanchnic vein thrombosis (SVT) is a clinical challenge. Depending on the site of thrombosis, patients are at risk of developing liver insufficiency, portal hypertension, or bowel infarction and may experience recurrence in both the splanchnic veins and other vein segments. To prevent recurrence, anticoagulant therapy should be started as soon as possible after diagnosis and is often continued for an indefinite period of time. However, active bleeding is not infrequent at the time of SVT diagnosis, and major risk factors for bleeding, such as esophageal varices or a low platelet count, are frequently present in these patients. In real-world clinical practice, a proportion of SVT patients are left untreated because the risks associated with anticoagulant therapy are felt to exceed its benefits. However, the majority of patients receive anticoagulant drugs, with heterogeneous timing of initiation, drug choice, and dosages. Evidence to drive treatment decisions is limited because no randomized controlled trials have been carried out in these patients. This review provides practical guidance for the use of anticoagulant drugs in patients presenting with SVT, including symptomatic as well as incidentally detected events.