Congenital absence of the portal vein—Case report and a review of literature



Congenital absence of the portal vein (CAPV) is a rare anomaly in which the intestinal and the splenic venous drainage bypass the liver and drain into systemic veins through various venous shunts. To our knowledge, we have reviewed all 83 cases of CAPV, since first described in 1793. This equates to a rate of almost 2.5 cases per year over the last 30 years. Morgan and Superina (1994, J. Pediatr. Surg. 29:1239–1241) proposed the following classification of portosystemic anomalies; either the liver is not perfused with portal blood because of a complete shunt (Type I) or the liver is perfused with portal blood due to the presence of a partial shunt (Type II). In our case, abdominal venous blood drained into the suprarenal inferior vena cava via the left renal vein and dilated left gastric veins. After analyzing all reported cases, we recognize that more than 65% of patients are females and more than 30% of all published cases had been diagnosed by the age of 5 years. Additional anomalies are common in CAPV. In the reported cases, more then 22% of patients had congenital heart disease. Other commonly found anomalies include abnormalities of the spleen, urinary and male genital tract, brain as well as skeletal anomalies. Hepatic changes such as focal nodular hyperplasia, hepatocellular carcinoma, and hepatoblastoma are diagnosed in more then 40% of patients. This article also illustrates the radiological findings of CAPV. Radiological evaluation by ultrasound, CT, and MRI is helpful to detect coexisting abnormalities. Clin. Anat. 23:750–758, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.