Multivisceral transplant as an option to transplant cirrhotic patients with severe portal vein thrombosis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Non-tumoral portal vein thrombosis (PVT) is a critical complication in the patient with advanced cirrhosis awaiting liver transplantation (LT). With the evolution of liver transplant (LT) technique, PVT has morphed from an absolute contraindication to a relative contraindication, depending on the grade of the thrombus. The Yerdel classification is one system of grading PVT severity. Patients with Yerdel class 1–3 PVT can undergo LT at centers with experience in complex portal vein (PV) dissection, thrombectomy, and reconstruction. Class 4 PVT, however, is even more complex and may require heroic techniques such as cavoportal hemitransposition, PV arterialization or multivisceral transplant (MVT). Some centers use a MVT back-up approach for patients with Yerdel class 4 PVT. In these patients, all organs with PV outflow are procured simultaneously as a cluster graft from a deceased donor (liver, pancreas, intestine±stomach). If physiologic PV inflow is established intraoperatively, the recipient undergoes LT. Otherwise the MVT graft is transplanted. MVT establishes physiologic PV flow, but transplantation of the intestine confers significant lifelong risks including rejection, graft-versus host disease and post-transplant lymphoma. Yerdel class 1–4 PVT patients undergoing successful LT have 5-year survival similar to non-PVT patients, while patients requiring full MVT experience somewhat higher mortality because of the complexity of the surgery and medical management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-121
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Surgery
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Cavoportal hemitransposition
  • Cirrhosis
  • Liver transplantation
  • Multivisceral transplantation
  • Portomesenteric venous thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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