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Is the transjugular intrahepatic portocaval shunt procedure beneficial for liver transplant recipients?

, : Is the transjugular intrahepatic portocaval shunt procedure beneficial for liver transplant recipients?. Transplantation 58(3): 297-300

Recent reports document the efficacy of transjugular intrahepatic portocaval shunts (TIPS) for the prevention of portal hypertensive bleeding and have advocated its use as a bridge to liver transplantation. There are no reports, however, analyzing liver transplant results for patients with indwelling TIPS. We reviewed the records of all adult primary recipients with a history of portal hypertensive bleeding or unmanageable ascites transplanted since the TIPS procedure became available in our institution in July 1991. Seven of 20 recipients underwent TIPS before transplant. There were no significant differences between patients with or without TIPS in age, United Network for Organ Sharing status, Child-Pugh score, preoperative prothrombin time, operative time, operative blood product requirement, overall length of stay, and 6-month patient survival after transplant. We noted a trend toward less operative red cell (26.0 +/- 26.2 vs. 31.8 +/- 38.1 U, mean +/- SD) and autologous blood (4,762 +/- 3,335 vs. 13,355 [corrected] +/- 20,460 ml) transfusion and improved patient survival for those with a TIPS. Patients with a TIPS in place waited significantly longer for their transplant (282 +/- 113 vs. 149 +/- 113 days, P = 0.014). There were 2 technical complications related to the TIPS, 1 in a patient who died after rupture of the suprahepatic vena caval anastomosis where the device had traversed the caval/hepatic vein junction and weakened the tissues, and the other in a survivor in whom the device extended into the right atrium and was extracted during the transplant procedure. Three patients with TIPS in place died of sepsis while waiting for a donor organ. We conclude that while the TIPS offers benefits for the liver transplant recipient, placement of the device in small shrunken cirrhotic livers must be precise. Immediate benefits for the transplant candidate may be offset by increased waiting time and technical complications at the transplant operation.


PMID: 8053050

DOI: 10.1097/00007890-199408150-00007

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