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Portal cholangiopathy: radiological classification and natural history

Abstract

Background/aim Portal cholangiopathy (PC) is identified in over 80% of patients with portal vein thrombosis (PVT), but the true impact of this condition is not well known. This study investigated the relationship between cholangiographic abnormalities and clinical symptoms and their evolution over time.

Patients/methods 67 consecutive patients with non-tumoral non-cirrhotic PVT following a standardised diagnostic protocol were studied. Findings at magnetic resonance angiography and cholangiography (MRA/MRC) were classified as no PC, grade I PC (minimal irregularities), grade II PC (stenosis without dilation) and grade III PC (stenosis with dilation). These changes were related to the presence of symptoms.

Results 22 patients were diagnosed with acute PVT and 45 presented with chronic PVT. Overall, 52 patients had PC (6 grade I, 12 grade II and 34 grade III). 14 patients developed symptoms, all of whom had grade III PC. 30% of patients with acute PVT developed grade III PC within 1 year. In those without grade III PC, follow-up MRC showed no progression of the biliary lesions to grade III. The 5-year probability of developing symptoms of PC after acute PVT was 19%. In 45 patients with chronic PVT, MRA/MRC showed grade III PC in 26. In those without grade III PC, no progression of PC was observed at further follow-up MRC. The prevalence of symptoms of PC in these patients was 22%.

Conclusions PC is a frequent complication that develops and stabilises early after PVT and becomes symptomatic in its more severe form (grade III). These data suggest that follow-up MRA/MRC is not mandatory and strategies to prevent the development of symptoms of PC should be tested in patients with grade III PC.

  • Portal biliopathy
  • haemostatic disorders
  • portal cavernoma
  • portal hypertension
  • portal hypertension
  • radiology
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