OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to evaluate the incidence of post-balloon-occluded retrograde transvenous obliteration (BRTO) ascites/hepatic hydrothorax and rebleeding rate (variceal and non-variceal) in the presence and absence of a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS).METHODS: A retrospective audit of consecutive patients undergoing BRTO was performed (August 2007-October 2010). The population was divided into two groups: patients who underwent BRTO only (BRTO-only group) and those who underwent BRTO in the presence of TIPS (BRTO+TIPS group). Post-BRTO rebleeding was categorized for the source of bleeding. Ascites and/or hepatic hydrothorax were categorized according to clinical severity. Comparisons, utilizing the Kaplan-Meier method, between both groups were made for patient survival, incidence of ascites/hydrothorax, and rebleeding. RESULTS: Thirty-nine patients underwent BRTO (three technical failures of BRTO-only group). Of the 36 technically successful BRTO procedures, 27 patients (75%) underwent BRTO-only and 9 patients (25%) underwent BRTO in the presence of a TIPS. Pre-BRTO ascites/hydrothorax resolved in BRTO-only vs. BRTO+TIPS in 7% (N=2/27) and 56% (N=5/9), respectively (P=0.006). The ascites/hydrothorax free rate at 6, 12, and 24 months after BRTO for BRTO-only vs. BRTO+TIPS was 58%, 43%, 29%, and 100%, 100%, 100%, respectively (P=0.01). Recurrent hemorrhage for BRTO-only vs. BRTO+TIPS groups, and for the same time periods was 9%, 9%, 21% vs. 0%, 0%, 0%, respectively (P=0.03). The 1-year patient survival of both groups (80-88%) was similar (P>0.05).CONCLUSIONS: This study concludes that the presence of TIPS has a protective value against the development of post-BRTO ascites/hydrothorax as well as recurrent hemorrhage but this does not translate to improved patient survival.
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