Surgical treatment options for patients with cirrhosis and portal hypertension are complicated. In this study, we evaluated the effectiveness of a new treatment strategy, splenic auto-transplantation and oesophageal transection anastomosis. We report results from clinical observations, splenic immune function and portal dynamics in 274 patients.Methods
From 1979 to 2005, 274 cirrhosis patients with portal hypertension underwent the new treatment strategy, and were followed up to compare results with those patients who underwent traditional surgical treatment. From 1999 to 2002, a randomized controlled trial (RCT) was performed on 40 patients to compare their post-operative immune function. From 1994 to 2006, another RCT enrolled 28 patients to compare portal dynamics using three-dimensional dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography (3D DEC MRA) investigation post operation.Results
Among 274 patients (mean age 41.8 years), the emergency operative mortality (4.4%), selective operative mortality (2.2%), complication rate (17.9%), prevalence of hepatic encephalopathy (<1%), rate of portal hypertension gastritis (PHG) bleeding (9.1%), and morbidity of hepatic carcinoma (8%) were similar to those patients undergoing traditional operation; the spleen immunology function (Tuftsin, IgM) decreased in both groups 2 months post operation, but this decrease did not reach statistical significance. Through 3D DCE MRA, the cross sectional area and the velocity and volume of blood flow of the main portal vein decreased significantly after operation in both groups. The velocity and volume of blood flow in the auto-transplantation group was significantly lower than that in the control group. Conclusions Splenic auto-transplantation and esophageal transection anastomosis is a safe, effective, and reasonable treatment strategy for patients with portal hypertension with varicial bleeding. It not only can correct hypersplenism, but may also achieve complete hemostasis. Spleens auto-transplanted into the retroperitoneal space can preserve immune function and establish broad collateral circulation.