The mortality for surgical repair is similar to ligation in patients with traumatic portal vein injury

Joseph Sabat, Chiu Hsieh Hsu, Quyen Chu, Tze Woei Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Portal vein injury is uncommon, and the optimal treatment is controversial. We compared the outcomes of ligation vs repair of portal injury using the National Trauma Data Bank. Methods: Adult patients who suffered portal injury were identified from the National Trauma Data Bank (2002-2014) by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision diagnosis codes. Patients were stratified by treatment modality into no surgery, ligation, and surgical repair using International Classification of Diseases procedure codes. Outcomes including hospital mortality, bowel resection, and length of stay between ligation and surgical repair were compared by Kruskal-Wallis or Fisher exact test as appropriate. Multivariable analyses were performed with logistic regression. Results: Among 752 patients with portal vein injury, 345 patients (45.9%) underwent no surgery, 103 patients (13.7%) had ligation, and 304 (40.4%) underwent surgical repair. Overall mortality was 49%. Age, sex, Injury Severity Score, Glasgow Coma Scale score, presenting blood pressure, and heart rate were similar between groups that underwent ligation and surgical repair. The hospital mortality (59.2% vs 47.7%; P =.08), bowel resection (1.9% vs 1.0%; P =.55), and length of stay (12.5 vs 15.0 days; P =.08) were also comparable between ligation and repair in univariate analysis. In multivariable analysis, hospital mortality for surgical repair was similar to ligation (risk ratio, 0.69; 95% confidence interval, 0.41-1.16; P =.16). Conclusions: Portal vein injury is associated with significant mortality and morbidity. Surgical repair showed a trend for lower postoperative mortality than ligation, but this was not statistically significant on multivariate analysis. Repair of a traumatic portal vein injury should be attempted, but ligation is an acceptable alternative without an increase in bowel resection rates or a statistically significant increase in mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-404
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery: Venous and Lymphatic Disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2019


  • Database
  • Portal vein
  • Trauma
  • Vascular injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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