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Keywords:

  • Budd-Chiari syndrome;
  • epidemiology;
  • hepatic vein thrombosis;
  • prognosis;
  • risk factors

Abstract

Background: The exact incidence and prevalence of Budd-Chiari syndrome (BCS) is unknown in the general population. Published reports differ in terms of the clinical characteristics, effects of therapy and survival.

Aims: To investigate the epidemiology, clinical presentation and survival in patients with BCS.

Methods: Retrospective multicentre study in Sweden reviewing the medical records of all patients with BCS 1986–2003, identified from the computerised diagnosis database of 11 hospitals, including all university hospitals and liver transplantation centres.

Results: Forty-three patients with BCS were identified, of whom nine (21%) had concomitant portal vein thrombosis. The mean age-standardised incidence and prevalence rates in 1990–2001 were calculated to be 0.8 per million per year and 1.4 per million inhabitants respectively. Myeloproliferative disorders (38%), thrombophilic factors (31%) and oral contraceptives (30%) were common aetiological factors. Two or more risk factors were present in 44%. In 23%, no risk factor was evident. The median follow-up time was 2.7 years. Seventy-two percent were on anticoagulant therapy during follow-up. Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunting, surgical shunting procedures and liver transplantation were performed in 4, 6 and 18 patients respectively. Nineteen patients died. The overall transplantation-free survival at 1, 5 and 10 years was 47, 28 and 17% respectively.

Conclusions: Budd-Chiari syndrome is a rare disorder; the mean age-standardised incidence and prevalence rates in Sweden in 1990–2001 were calculated to be 0.8 per million per year and 1.4 per million inhabitants respectively. The presence of a myeloproliferative disorder was a common aetiological factor in our cohort and about half of the patients had a multifactorial aetiology. The transplantation-free survival was poor.