Gall bladder carcinoma associated with anticoagulation-resistant, progressive, multi-focal venous thrombosis and gangrene of all limbs: a case report and review of literature

Manisha Aggarwal, Janitta Kundaikar, Dinesh Manchikanti, Shaji Thomas, Ashish Arsia, Rahul Pusuluri, Sanjay Kumar


Cancer being a prothrombotic state, frequently has vascular complications, venous thrombosis, embolism, recurrent venous thromboembolism and a high frequency of anticoagulant failure. We present a rare case of anticoagulant-resistant, progressive, multifocal venous thrombosis and gangrene in all four limbs in a patient with carcinoma gallbladder. A 49 year old lady with locally advanced gallbladder cancer who had been on routine perioperative deep venous thrombosis (DVT) prophylaxis presented two months later with deep venous thrombosis of both lower limbs progressing to venous gangrene of both feet, despite being on anticoagulation. 7 days later, she presented with venous gangrene of both hands. Shortly thereafter, she developed right facial paralysis due to thrombus in the segmental branch of the left MCA despite being on anticoagulation. The hypercoagulable state in cancer involves procoagulant molecules produced by tumor cells, suppression of fibrinolytic activity and platelet activation and is contributed by interactions between the coagulation cascade, complement pathway and immune system. Upto 15% of patients with cancer will develop DVT following surgery, despite standard DVT prophylaxis. Extended DVT prophylaxis should be considered in high-risk patients. Patients with metastases should continue with indefinite anticoagulant therapy after a thrombotic event. In patients without metastasis, anticoagulant treatment is recommended for as long as the cancer is active and while the patient is receiving antitumor therapy. This rare case has been presented to highlight the hypercoagulable state of cancer, the importance of long-term anticoagulation in advanced and metastatic cancers and the high rate of anticoagulation failure associated with unfavourable tumor biology.


Cancer-associated thrombosis, Venous thrombosis, Gangrene, Pulmonary thromboembolism, Prothrombotic state

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