Dig Liver Dis. 2021 Aug 12:S1590-8658(21)00408-4. doi: 10.1016/j.dld.2021.07.039. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION AND AIM: Portal vein thrombosis (PVT) is associated with a higher risk of liver-related complications. Recent guidelines recommend direct-acting anticoagulants (DOAC) in patients with cirrhosis and non-tumoral PVT. However, data on the efficacy and safety of DOAC in these patients remain limited. We aim to investigate the efficacy and safety of DOAC compared to vitamin K antagonists (VKA) to treat non-tumoral PVT in patients with cirrhosis.
METHODS: We performed a systematic search of six electronic databases using MeSH term and free text. We selected all studies comparing the use of DOACs with vitamin K antagonist to treat PVT in cirrhosis. The primary outcome was PVT recanalization. Secondary outcomes were and PVT progression, major bleeding, variceal bleeding and death.
RESULTS: From 944 citations, we included 552 subjects from a total of 11 studies (10 observational and 1 randomized trial) that fulfilled the inclusion criteria. We found that DOAC were associated with a higher pooled rate of PVT recanalization (RR = 1.67, 95%CI: 1.02, 2.74, I2 = 79%) and lower pooled risk of PVT progression (RR = 0.14, 95%CI: 0.03-0.57, I2 = 0%). The pooled risk of major bleeding (RR = 0.29, 95%CI: 0.08-1.01, I2 = 0%), variceal bleeding (RR = 1.29, 95%CI: 0.64-2.59, I2 = 0%) and death (RR = 0.31, 95%CI: 0.01-9.578, I2 = 80%) was similar between DOAC and VKA.
CONCLUSION: For the treatment of PVT in patients with cirrhosis, the bleeding risk was comparable between DOAC and VKA. However, DOAC were associated with a higher pooled rate of PVT recanalization. Dedicated randomized studies are needed to confirm these findings.