Journal 11, November 2010pages: 687-691
Background: Inserting a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt by means of interventional radiology has become the procedure of choice for decompression of portal hypertension. The indications and criteria for patient selection have been expanded and refined accordingly.
Objectives: To review our experience with TIPS and analyze the results with emphasis on patient selection and indication (conventional vs. atypical).
Methods: In this retrospective analysis in a single center all cases were managed by a multidisciplinary team (comprising liver surgery and transplantation, hepatology, imaging, interventional radiology and intensive care).
Results: Between August 2003 and December 2009, 34 patients (mean age 51, range 27–76 years) were treated with TIPS. The cause of portal hypertension was cirrhosis (23 cases), hypercoagulabilty complicated by Budd-Chiari syndrome (n=6), and acute portal vein thrombosis (n=5). Clinical indications for TIPS included treatment or secondary prevention of variceal bleeding (10 cases), refractory ascites (n=18), mesenteric ischemia due to acute portal vein thrombosis (n=5), and acute liver failure (n=1). TIPS was urgent in 18 cases (53%) and elective in 16. Three deaths occurred following urgent TIPS. The overall related complication rate was 32%: transient encephalopathy (6 cases), ischemic hepatitis (n=2), acute renal failure (n=2) and bleeding (n=1). Long-term results of TIPS were defined as good in 25 cases (73%), fair in 4 (12%) and failure in 5 (15%). In three of five patients with mesenteric ischemia following acute portal vein thrombosis, surgery was obviated. Revision of TIPS due to stenosis or thrombosis was needed in 7 cases (20%).
Conclusions: TIPS is safe and effective. While its benefit for patients with portal hypertension is clear, the role of TIPS in treatment of portal-mesenteric venous thrombosis needs further evaluation. Patient selection, establishing the indication and performing TIPS should be done by a multidisciplinary dedicated team.
 TIPS = transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt