Thrombosis of the splanchnic veins: CT diagnosis

R. L. Vogelzang, R. M. Gore, S. L. Anschuetz, A. T. Blei

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66 Scopus citations


Fourteen patients had mesenteric, portal, or splenic venous thrombosis that was diagnosed primarily by contrast-enhanced CT. The group included five patients with coagulopathy, three with pancreatic carcinoma, two with cirrhosis and portal hypertension, one with pancreatitis, and one with hepatocellular carcinoma. In two patients, no etiology was determined. In all cases, CT easily identified low-density venous thrombosis, which frequently involved more than one vein. In four patients, all three splanchnic veins were involved; five patients had occlusion of two veins. In five patients, only one vein was involved. Additional CT findings included ascites, collateral veins, hepatomegaly, and splenomegaly. No venous wall enhancement was found. CT also was helpful in defining the cause of thrombosis in six of 14 patients. Mesenteric edema and/or bowel wall thickening was not identified. None of the patients had classic clinical evidence of splanchnic venous occlusion, and none died primarily of that disease. The major morbidity suffered by these patients stemmed from complications of splanchnic venous occlusion, and nine patients ultimately required sclerotherapy, splenectomy, and portal decompression. We conclude that CT is useful in the diagnosis of splanchnic venous thrombosis. Our experience suggests that mesenteric, splenic, and/or portal venous thrombosis may occur more commonly than has been previously thought and that the disease in many cases is not life threatening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-96
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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