Subcutaneous Transposition of the Spleen: A Method for Treatment of Complications in Portal Hypertension?

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Eleven patients with portal hypertension were treated with subcutaneous transposition of a resected spleen. In eight of the patients the operation was performed after variceal bleeding. In this group there was one operative mortality—a 77-year-old woman. Another patient died after 28 months in upper gastrointestinal bleeding. Autopsy showed varices in the gastric fundus and a cancer in the cardia. The other six patients are alive and in good health after 41–60 months. The operation was performed in another three patients, who had not bled. The indication was hypersplenism and esophageal varices in two and severe thrombocytopenia in one. Two of these patients (both with advanced hepatic disease) died postoperatively. The operation is proposed as an alternative method in the treatment of portal hypertension—especially when the main problem is hypersplenism. The operation has no negative effects on liver function and does not cause encephalopathy. Hypersplenism is cured. The survival time and freedom from postoperative bleeding among those who bled preoperatively is in the present material very satisfactory. However, the operation cannot be recommended for the prophylactic treatment of patients with esophageal varices who have not bled—at least not in the patient with advanced hepatic dysfunction.

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