Introduction Splanchnic vein thrombosis (SVT) is a serious complication in patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH). Mutant PNH clones can be associated with an increased risk of SVT even in the absence of overt disease, but their prevalence in non-selected SVT patients remains unknown. Materials and Methods Patients with objective diagnosis of SVT and without known PNH were tested for the presence of PNH clone using high-sensitivity flow cytometric analysis. Results A total of 202 SVT patients were eligible, 58.4% were males, mean age was 54.6 years (range 17-94), site of thrombosis was portal in 103 patients, mesenteric in 67, splenic in 37, and supra-hepatic in 10. SVT was associated with JAK2 V6167F in 28 of 126 (22.2%) screened patients, liver cirrhosis in 15.3% patients, recent surgery in 10.9%, and myeloproliferative neoplasm in 10.6%, whereas in 34.6% of patients neither permanent nor transient risk factors were detected. None of the patients had a clearly demonstrable PNH clone, but in two patients (0.99%, 95% CI 0.17-3.91) we observed very small PNH clones (size 0.014% and 0.16%) confirmed in two independent samples. One patient had portal vein thrombosis and no associated risk factors, the second had superior mesenteric vein thrombosis and inflammatory bowel disease. Conclusions Very small PNH clones can be detected in patients with SVT and no clinical manifestations of disease. Future studies are needed to explore the potential role of this finding in the pathogenesis of SVT.
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