It is well known that chronic encephalopathy may be a major complication after the establishment of a surgical portal caval shunt for an episode of variceal haemorrhage. In an effort to minimise this problem Warren and colleagues developed the distal splenorenal shunt where the portal and mesenteric blood flow to the liver was left intact. It is now recognised, however, that the longterm incidence of encephalopathy may be no different with this type of shunt compared with conventional surgical portal systemic shunts. Acquired chronic hepatocerebral degeneration has not been reported after such a selective shunt. A patient with primary biliary cirrhosis is reported who developed the clinical features of this syndrome eight years after a successful distal splenorenal shunt.
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