BACKGROUND: Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic stent shunts (TIPSS) are increasingly being used to manage the complications of portal hypertension. This study reports on the follow up on 130 patients who have undergone TIPSS. PATIENTS AND METHODS: One hundred and thirty patients (81 male), mean (SD) age 54.7 (12.5) years underwent TIPSS. The majority (64.6%) had alcoholic cirrhosis and 53.2% had Childs C disease. Indications were: variceal haemorrhage (76.2%), refractory ascites (13.1%), portal hypertensive gastropathy (4.6%), others (6.1%). Shunt function was assessed by Doppler ultrasonography and two then six monthly portography and mean follow up for survivors was 18.0 months (range 2-43.5). RESULTS: The procedure was successful in 119 (91.5%). Sixty three episodes of shunt dysfunction were observed in 45 (37.8%) patients. Variceal rebleeding occurred in 16 (13.4%) patients and was always associated with shunt dysfunction. Twenty (16.8%) patients had new or worse spontaneous encephalopathy after TIPSS and 11 (64.7%) patients had an improvement in resistant ascites. Thirty day mortality was 21.8% and one year survival 62.5%. CONCLUSION: TIPSS is an effective treatment for variceal bleeding, resistant ascites, and portal hypertensive gastropathy. Rebleeding is invariably associated with shunt dysfunction, the frequency of which increases with time, therefore regular and longterm shunt surveillance is required.
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