Portal vein thrombosis unrelated to solid malignancy is common in patients with cirrhosis, but less frequently observed in patients without cirrhosis. Prompt diagnosis and management of acute symptomatic portal vein thrombosis are essential. Failure to detect and treat thromboses can result in mesenteric ischemia, chronic cavernous transformation, and complications of portal hypertension. In patients with cirrhosis, development of portal vein thrombosis is often insidious and remains undetected until its incidental detection. Management of portal vein thrombosis in patients with cirrhosis is more controversial. However, there are data to support treatment of specific patients with anticoagulation agents. We review the common and distinct features of portal vein thromboses in patients without liver tumors, with and without cirrhosis.
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