Background Perioperative vascular thrombotic events in patients undergoing liver transplantation (LT) are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Methods In this retrospective UNOS database analysis, we evaluated the prevalence of portal vein thrombosis (PVT) and factors contributing to PVT development in different ethnic groups. Results Of the 47 953 LT performed between 2002 and 2015, we identified 3642 cases of PVT. African Americans (AA) had a significantly lower prevalence of PVT compared to other ethnic groups (p = 0.0001). Multivariable regression analysis confirmed that AA were less likely than other ethnicities to have PVT (OR = 0.6). AA cohort was more likely to have infectious or autoimmune causes of liver failure (OR = 1.6, 1.7 respectively) as well as higher creatinine and INR compared to other groups (OR = 1.6, 1.3 respectively). AA's were less likely to have encephalopathy, ascites, or variceal bleeding, which might indicate lower portal pressures. AA's were listed for LT later than other ethnicities and had both a lower functional status and higher MELD score at the time of registration. Discussion AA's had a significantly lower prevalence of preoperative PVT despite having a greater number of factors predisposing to thrombosis. This predisposition should be considered before instituting perioperative antithrombotic therapy.
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