Haematological splenomegaly does not directly relate to portal hypertension: From a clinical study to surgical choice


Antonio Manenti, Fabio Forghieri, Maurizio Zizzo, Dario Colasanto, Mario Luppi

Background: Splenomegaly induces an increased inflow into the portal venous system; however, in the absence of pathology of the liver and of a portal vein system, secondary portal hypertension is unusual. We analyzed this problem through a clinical observational method. Methods: We selected 20 patients with splenomegaly secondary to B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia; their imaging tests and clinical pathways were re-examined. Results: In the absence of diseases of the liver or of the portal venous system, an increased portal blood flow, secondary to the splenomegaly, could not be considered the sole cause of portal hypertension. Conclusions: The normal liver has a high venous capacity, and in the absence of other factors, the sole increase in portal venous flow cannot directly justify portal hypertension. This conclusion is still well founded, even if multiple humoral mediators, some of which are also released from the spleen in a number of pathological conditions, can differentially modulate the haemodynamics of hepatic sinusoids.