OBJECTIVE. Portal hemodynamics are altered by placement of a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS). Normal duplex sonographic findings after TIPS placement and hemodynamic alterations indicating shunt failure have not yet been well described. The purposes of this study were to determine normal hemodynamic changes on duplex sonography after TIPS placement and to assess the efficacy of duplex sonography in detecting shunt dysfunction. SUBJECTS AND METHODS. Forty patients underwent TIPS placement and were entered into a study that included routine sonographic evaluation and portal venography at regular intervals. Portal venography was also performed if shunt velocities on duplex sonography changed from the baseline, which raised the question of shunt stenosis or occlusion. The pre-TIPS duplex sonographic study included determination of patency, velocity, and flow direction in the main, right, and left portal veins and in the hepatic artery. Follow-up sonography included the pre-TIPS examination in addition to velocity determinations in three segments of the shunt. Correlation was made between 82 concurrent sonographic and portal venographic studies. RESULTS. High-velocity blood flow (mean peak velocity, 135-200 cm/sec) was consistently seen within patent, well-functioning shunts. Hepatic artery peak systolic velocities increased from 79 cm/sec before TIPS placement to 131 cm/sec after TIPS placement (p < .001). Main portal vein velocities increased from 21.8 cm/sec before TIPS placement to 41.5 cm/sec after TIPS placement (p < .001). When compared with portal venography, duplex sonography was 98% sensitive and 100% specific in predicting the presence of blood flow within the stent. Sonography was highly sensitive and specific for detecting stent stenosis. Final sonographic criteria for shunt stenosis in angiographically documented cases were low-velocity shunt flow (≤60 cm/sec) in the entire stent, or low-velocity shunt flow with an associated focal velocity elevation. CONCLUSION. Consistent changes in portal venous and hepatic arterial hemodynamics are normally seen on duplex sonography after placement of a TIPS. Duplex sonography accurately predicts shunt patency and dysfunction when compared with portal venography. Duplex sonography is an effective, noninvasive method of evaluating shunt function and should be considered for use as the primary imaging technique in routine follow-up after TIPS placement.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging