Health
Fact-checked

At TheHealthBoard, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What is Portal Vein Thrombosis?

Portal Vein Thrombosis (PVT) is a blood clot in the portal vein, which carries blood to the liver from the intestines. This condition can impede blood flow and lead to liver damage. Accompanied by vivid images, our article breaks down the causes, symptoms, and treatments of PVT. How might this condition affect overall health? Join the discussion to uncover more.
K.C. Bruning
K.C. Bruning

Portal vein thrombosis is a rare condition where blood flow from the abdominal organs to the liver is either impeded or completely blocked by a blood clot. It is one of the types of venous thrombosis, which is the existence of an unmoving blood clot in a vein. This condition affects the hepatic portal vein, which is technically not a vein, but a vessel, because it does not carry blood directly to the heart. It can be found in the abdomen.

Some of the typical causes of portal vein thrombosis include cirrhosis, pancreatitis and diverticulitis. Cancer of the bile ducts, or cholangiocarcinoma, can lead to the condition as well. It can also be a complication of a procedure called a splenectomy in which part or all of the spleen is removed.

Portal vein thrombosis is where blood flow is impeded or completely blocked by a blood clot.
Portal vein thrombosis is where blood flow is impeded or completely blocked by a blood clot.

In some cases, portal vein thrombosis can be treated with drugs. Blood thinners will sometimes be sufficient to treat the condition. Anticoagulant drugs can also be used to prevent future blood clots from forming, though this sort of treatment is usually only effective for patients who have an acute form of the condition.

It may be necessary to treat portal vein thrombosis with surgery. Bypass surgery, a process in which healthy blood vessels from another part of the body are grafted onto the vessel in order to move blood around the clot, can be used to cure the condition. If the patient does not have adequate vessels for a bypass, a transplant may be necessary. In other cases, the insertion of a small tube known as a shunt can help to free blood flow.

Portal vein thrombosis either impedes or blocks blood flow from the abdominal organs to the liver.
Portal vein thrombosis either impedes or blocks blood flow from the abdominal organs to the liver.

Portal vein thrombosis symptoms depend on the manner and speed with which the blood clot forms in the vessel. There are two primary types of this condition: the more common chronic variety and the rare and difficult to diagnose acute thrombosis. Each type has its own symptoms.

If the condition is chronic, the symptoms are typically easy to detect. They can include bloody vomit, weight loss, and nausea. Some patients also have abdominal pain.

Some portal vein thrombosis patients may have abdominal pain.
Some portal vein thrombosis patients may have abdominal pain.

Acute portal vein thrombosis is more difficult to detect via symptoms as they are often mild and not excessively disruptive to the patient. As with the chronic type of the condition, the patient may have nausea or bloody vomit, though it is not as likely. There may be accumulation of fluid in the abdominal area. Some patients also get a fever.

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Portal vein thrombosis is where blood flow is impeded or completely blocked by a blood clot.
      By: p6m5
      Portal vein thrombosis is where blood flow is impeded or completely blocked by a blood clot.
    • Portal vein thrombosis either impedes or blocks blood flow from the abdominal organs to the liver.
      By: blueringmedia
      Portal vein thrombosis either impedes or blocks blood flow from the abdominal organs to the liver.
    • Some portal vein thrombosis patients may have abdominal pain.
      By: Antonioguillem
      Some portal vein thrombosis patients may have abdominal pain.
    • The hepatic portal vein does not carry blood directly to the heart.
      By: Alexandr Mitiuc
      The hepatic portal vein does not carry blood directly to the heart.