We read with interest the recent report by Martinez et al. showing successful treatment of acute portal vein thrombosis (PVT) with rivaroxaban in a patient with compensated cirrhosis.
We would like to share our recent experience with a series of cirrhosis patients receiving oral factor Xa inhibitor anticoagulants (rivaroxaban and apixaban) for treatment of PVT (see Table 1). To date, we have treated five patients with cirrhosis with oral factor Xa inhibitor agents. Similar to this case report, all the patients are well compensated without high-risk varices prior to anticoagulation. Therapy has been well tolerated and all patients remain in follow-up. In the longest-treated patient, we confirmed repermeation of the portal vein after 6 months of therapy.
|Patient Characteristics||Esophageal Varices?||Agent and Dose||Indication||Durationa||Resolution||Bleeding?|
|61 yo male, NASH, CTP A||EVL prior to therapy||Rivaroxaban 20 mg daily||PVT/SMV||6 months||Complete||None|
|55 yo female, NASH, CTP A||None||Warfarin 3 mths → Rivaroxaban 20 mg daily 3 mths → Rivaroxaban 10 mg daily present||PVT/SMV; FV Leiden||6 months||Complete||None|
|70 yo female, NASH, CTP A||Low risk||Apixaban 2.5 mg twice daily||Acute PVT||4 months||Unknown||None|
|26 yo female, AIH, CTP A||Low risk||Apixaban 2.5 mg twice daily||Chronic PVT; APS||1 month||Unknown||None|
|54 yo female, Cryptogenic, CTP A||Low risk||Apixaban 2.5 mg twice daily||Chronic PVT||7 months||Stable||None|
The coagulopathy of cirrhosis represents a precarious and rebalanced state of hemostasis. A recent study found that prevention of PVT with low molecular weight heparin significantly decreased development of PVT and reduced episodes of decompensation. Compared with daily injections, we agree with the authors in that these “nontraditional” oral agents represent an attractive option for cirrhosis patients due to ease of administration. However, we would like to emphasize recent reports advancing a more cautionary tone concerning in vitro efficacy and safety of these medications.[3, 4] Cirrhosis patients are typically excluded from clinical trials assessing anticoagulants and clinicians are often left to extrapolate when developing treatment plans in this challenging population. While our series is small and no significant bleeding occurred, there is certainly risk when using these new agents, as the ability to monitor and rescue from bleeding is currently limited. Further, prospective studies are now needed in patients with cirrhosis to determine the safest, most effective dosing strategies and to better identify if patients with more advanced stages of cirrhosis are candidates for therapy.
Nicolas M. Intagliata, M.D.1
Hillary Maitland, M.D.2
Patrick G. Northup, M.D.1
Stephen H. Caldwell, M.D.1
1University of Virginia Health System Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
2University of Virginia Health System Division of Hematology and Oncology University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA