Splenectomy and splenic artery embolization are major treatment options for hypersplenism and portal hypertension in liver cirrhosis, but may lead to splanchnic vein thrombosis (SVT), which is potentially lethal. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to explore the incidence of SVT in liver cirrhosis after splenectomy or splenic artery embolization and the risk factors for SVT.
All relevant studies were searched through the PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library databases. The incidence of SVT in liver cirrhosis after splenectomy or splenic artery embolization was pooled. Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated.
Sixty-six studies with 5632 patients with cirrhosis were included. The pooled incidence of SVT after splenectomy and splenic artery embolization was 24.6% (95% CI 20.2-29.3%) and 11.7% (95% CI 7.1-17.3%), respectively. A meta-analysis of three comparative studies demonstrated that the incidence of SVT after splenectomy was statistically similar to that after splenic artery embolization (OR 3.15, P = 0.290). Platelet count, mean platelet volume, preoperative splenic or portal vein diameter, preoperative or postoperative portal blood velocity, splenic volume and weight, and periesophagogastric devascularization were significant risk factors for SVT after splenectomy. Postoperative use of preventive antithrombotic therapy was a significant protective factor against SVT after splenectomy.
SVT is common in liver cirrhosis after splenectomy and splenic artery embolization. Coagulation and hemostasis factors, anatomical factors, and surgery-related factors have been widely identified for the assessment of high risk of SVT after splenectomy. Prophylactic strategy after splenectomy, such as antithrombotic therapy, might be considered in such high-risk patients.
This study was registered in PROSPERO with a registration number of CRD42019129673.