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Clinical manifestations and imaging tools in the diagnosis of splanchnic and cerebral vein thromboses

      Highlights

      • The diagnosis of SVT and CVT relies exclusively on imaging tests.
      • No clinical algorithms or specific laboratory tests are available.
      • Abdominal US, CT and MR with angiography are performed for the diagnosis of SVT.
      • Cerebral CT and MR with angiography are performed for the diagnosis of CVT.
      • Conventional angiography, once the gold standard, is rarely used nowadays.

      Abstract

      Splanchnic vein thrombosis (SVT) and cerebral vein thrombosis (CVT) are uncommon manifestation of venous thromboembolism (VTE), occurring less frequently than deep vein thrombosis of the lower extremities and pulmonary embolism.
      SVT encompasses portal vein thrombosis, mesenteric vein thrombosis, splenic vein thrombosis and the Budd-Chiari syndrome. It is therefore a heterogeneous disease, with differences in clinical manifestations according to the site of thrombosis.
      CVT includes thrombosis of the cortical or deep cerebral veins and thrombosis of the major dural venous sinuses. Clinical presentation is variable, with a wide spectrum of signs and symptoms that can mimic other cerebral diseases.
      There are no clinical algorithms or specific laboratory tests that can guide in the identification of SVT and CVT; therefore, the diagnosis relies exclusively on imaging tests. Conventional angiography once was the gold standard for the diagnosis of SVT and CVT, but it is rarely used nowadays. Abdominal ultrasound (US), computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) with angiography are currently used for the diagnosis of SVT; while cerebral CT and MR with angiography are currently used for the diagnosis of CVT. These imaging tests have different sensitivities/specificities and different advantages/disadvantages that should be kept into consideration when choosing the appropriate imaging test based on the suspected site of thrombosis.
      This narrative review summarizes the clinical and diagnostic approach to SVT and CVT.

      Abbreviations:

      BCS (Budd-Chiari syndrome), CT (computed tomography), CVT (cerebral vein thrombosis), IVC (inferior vena cava), MR (magnetic resonance), MVT (mesenteric vein thrombosis), PVT (portal vein thrombosis), SpVT (splenic vein thrombosis), SVT (splanchnic vein thrombosis), US (ultrasound), VTE (venous thromboembolism)

      Keywords

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