Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) is becoming an accepted procedure as a bridge to orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) in patients with end-stage liver disease (ESLD) and bleeding from portal hypertension. It allows the immediate control of acute bleeding and decreases the risk of recurrent acute bleeding while the patient is awaiting OLT. We review in this report, our experience with 85 patients who underwent a TIPS procedure for gastrointestinal variceal bleeding from September 1991 until April 1994. All patients had liver cirrhosis and all had previous sclerotherapy before TIPS. Child-Pugh score was calculated at enrollment, and all patients were evaluated for possible OLT. Thirteen patients were Child A, 49 were Child B, and 23 were Child C. Fifty-three patients were candidates for OLT, and 32 were not. TIPS was performed urgently in 25 patients. At a median follow-up of 582 days (range, 1 to 1,095), 35 patients underwent transplantation, 21 patients died, and 29 patients are still alive and did not undergo transplantation. Technical complications were observed in 7% of patients and new onset of clinical encephalopathy in 37%. The 30-day mortality rate after TIPS was 13%. Actuarial survival was 60% at 1 and 3 years. Child class C and urgent TIPS were shown to be two independent predictor factors for mortality. TIPS was shown to be a valuable procedure, not only as a bridge to OLT but also as palliation for bleeding from portal hypertension in patients who were not candidates for either surgical shunt or OLT. However, its role in bleeding patients with acceptable liver function needs further investigation.
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