ADAMTS13 deficiency leading to excess ultralarge von Willebrand factor (VWF) multimers and platelet clumping is typically found in thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (a type of thrombotic microangiopathy). Idiopathic noncirrhotic intrahepatic portal hypertension (NCIPH) is a microangiopathy of portal venules associated with significant thrombocytopenia and predisposing gut disorders. To determine whether the portal microangiopathy in NCIPH is associated with ADAMTS13 deficiency. Plasma levels of ADAMTS13, anti-ADAMTS13 antibodies, and VWF were compared between cases (NCIPH patients) and controls (with chronic liver diseases of other etiology) matched for severity of liver dysfunction. Eighteen NCIPH patients [median (range) MELD score 12 (7-25)] and 25 controls [MELD score 11 (4-26)] were studied. ADAMTS13 activity was reduced in all 18 NCIPH patients and significantly lower than controls (median, IQR: 12.5%, 5-25% and 59.0%, 44-84%, respectively, P <0.0001) [normal range for plasma ADAMTS13 activity (55-160%)]. ADAMTS13 activity was <5% in 5/18 NCIPH patients (28%) and 0/25 controls (P = 0.009). ADAMTS13 antigen levels were also decreased. Sustained low ADAMTS13 levels were seen in four NCIPH patients over 6 weeks to 11 months (highest ADAMTS13 level in each patient: <5%, 6%, 6%, and 25%), despite two patients having MELD score 12. Although nine cases had low titer anti-ADAMTS13 antibodies, there was no significant difference between cases and controls. Abnormally large VWF multimers were observed in 4/11 NCIPH patients (36%) and in 0/22 controls (P = 0.008). Sustained deficiency of ADAMTS13 appears characteristic of NCIPH, irrespective of severity of liver disease.
- Portal venopathy
- Noncirrhotic intrahepatic portal hypertension
- ADAMTS13 deficiency