OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility of using a flexible trocar/catheter system to create a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS). SUBJECTS AND METHODS. A flexible needle/trocar was used to connect the hepatic vein to the portal vein in 23 patients with portal hypertension and a history of bleeding gastroesophageal varices. Five patients had signs and symptoms of encephalopathy before shunting; in four, the disease was classified as Child's class C and in one, as Child's class B. Nine-millimeter self-expandable metallic stents were used in all patients. RESULTS. The procedure was technically successful in all patients. The mean portosystemic pressure gradient decreased from 26 to 16 mm Hg (range, 7-23 mm Hg). Eight patients have died. One patient in a hepatic coma with hepatorenal failure survived percutaneous portosystemic shunting, but died 2 days after the TIPS procedure was done. After creation of the shunt, three other patients died of unrelated disease without recurrence of bleeding from gastroesophageal varices. Two patients died of massive bleeding from esophageal varices, one 24 hr after shunting and one of disseminated intravascular coagulation after a second attempt to establish a shunt. One patient died of sepsis associated with infected ascitic fluid 2 months after the TIPS procedure was done, and one died of unknown causes 4 months after the procedure was done. The mean follow-up time in the surviving 15 patients was 12 months. Seven patients had recurrence of gastrointestinal bleeding; the recurrence was due to a thrombosed shunt in two, to hepatic vein stenosis in four, and to a high portosystemic pressure gradient (22 mm Hg) after creation of the shunt in one. Hepatic vein stenosis was noted on portal venograms in another three otherwise asymptomatic patients. In four of five patients, encephalopathy was adequately controlled after shunting. The fifth patient with encephalopathy (Child's class C) and an additional patient in whom encephalopathy (Child's class C) developed after the TIPS procedure have had two additional hospital admissions because of difficulty in controlling the encephalopathy. The amount of ascitic fluid decreased or totally disappeared after treatment in all cases. No severe complications associated with creation of a TIPS were observed. CONCLUSION. Use of a flexible trocar/catheter system to create a TIPS is a simple, safe, and moderately reliable means of decompressing the portal vein in patients with portal hypertension.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging