Background. Patients who undergo orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) for Budd-Chiari syndrome (BCS) traditionally have been anticoagulated with warfarin postoperatively. Because a significant proportion of BCS patients are found to have an underlying myeloproliferative disorder (MPD), antiplatelet therapy may be a more rational treatment strategy for this subgroup. Methods. All patients who underwent OLT for the diagnosis of BCS at our institution through March 2000 were included in this analysis. Posttransplant therapy consisted of hydroxyurea and aspirin for those with MPDs. Standard anticoagulation or no antithrombotic treatment was given to BCS patients with other causes. Major posttransplantation complications (thrombosis and bleeding) and mortality were determined. Results. Seventeen patients underwent OLT for BCS at our institution. The mean follow-up was 68.4 months. Two of seventeen patients died; one patient died of recurrent thrombosis (124 months after OLT) and the other patient died of acute hepatitis B (7 months after OLT). Twelve patients (71%) had evidence of a MPD. Two of the MPD patients were treated with warfarin before the initiation of hydroxyurea and aspirin therapy. The remaining 10 MPD patients were placed on only hydroxyurea and aspirin after OLT. Anagrelide was used in place of hydroxyurea in two patients because of cytopenias caused by the latter agent. The mean follow-up of this group of 10 patients was 59.9 months. Only one patient experienced recurrent thrombosis, which occurred more than 10 years after the original transplant. There were no major bleeding complications and posttransplant liver biopsies were well tolerated. Conclusions. Antiplatelet therapy that consists of hydroxyurea and aspirin is a safe and effective alternative to anticoagulation to prevent recurrent thrombosis in MPD patients with BCS after liver transplantation. For patients with a hypercoagulable state corrected by OLT, antithrombotic therapy probably is not required. For those patients with conditions not corrected by OLT or with idiopathic BCS, anticoagulation or other therapy to control the hypercoagulable state should be given.
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