Hepatic venous outflow obstruction in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease

Vicente E. Torres, Sanjeev Rastogi, Bernard F. King, Anthony W. Stanson, John B. Gross, David M. Nagorney

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71 Scopus citations


To discuss the clinical presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of hepatic venous outflow obstruction as a complication of polycystic liver disease, four cases diagnosed and treated at our institution have been reviewed and the information from six previously published case reports has been summarized. Eight of the 10 patients were women. All presented with severe ascites. Nine had polycystic kidneys. Three had moderate-to-advanced renal insufficiency, four were on hemodialysis, and one had a renal allograft. Possible predisposing factors were identified in seven patients; the most common was recent abdominal surgery, which, in three cases, was a bilateral nephrectomy. All patients had extrinsic compression of the hepatic veins and the inferior vena cava by hepatic cysts, and four had proven superimposed thrombosis of the inferior vena cava and/or hepatic veins. In the patients seen in this institution, magnetic resonance imaging was helpful in determining the level of obstruction in the inferior vena cava and the patency of the hepatic and portal veins. The outcome was worse in the patients with thrombosis; one recovered after a portocaval shunt, and the remaining three patients died. On the other hand, five of the six patients without thrombosis recovered after alcohol sclerosis of a large dominant cyst (one patient) or after hepatic resection and cyst fenestration (four patients). Hepatic venous outflow obstruction probably has been underrecognized as a cause of portal hypertension, ascites, and liver dysfunction in polycystic liver disease. The diagnosis can be reliably established with current imaging techniques, especially magnetic resonance imaging. The treatment is aimed at decompressing the congested liver by relieving the obstruction of the intrahepatic inferior vena cava and, in the case of thrombosis of the hepatic veins, by a portosystemic shunt.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1186-1192
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1994


  • Budd-Chiari syndrome
  • Hepatic resection
  • Inferior vena cava compression
  • Polycystic liver disease
  • Portosystemic shunt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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