Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt Insertion for the Management of Portal Hypertension in Children

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the aim of the study was to describe our 20-year experience with transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPSS) procedures for children with resistant portal hypertension (PHTN).


Retrospective review of all children that had a TIPSS performed at Birmingham Children's Hospital from January 1, 1995 to January 1, 2015.


Forty children underwent 42 attempted TIPSS for resistant PHTN with recurrent variceal bleeding (n = 35), refractory ascites (n = 4), and hypersplenism (n = 1). Median age at operation was 12 years (range 7 months–17 years). Thirty-four procedures were elective and 8 were emergency cases. TIPSS was established in 33 cases (79%). Median portal venous pressure reduction was 10 mmHg. Variceal bleeding ceased in 27 (96%) and ascites improved in all. Clinical improvement following TIPSS enabled 7 children to be bridged to transplantation and 7 others to become suitable for transplantation. The 1-year and 5-year survival with TIPSS was 57% and 35%, respectively. Child-Pugh score C was an independent risk factor for adverse outcome (Likelihood ratio (LR) = 8.0; 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.7 to 23.5; P = 0.001). There were 6 major complications: hepatic artery thrombosis and infarction (n = 1), hepatic artery pseudoaneurysm (n = 1), bile leak (n = 1), and hepatic encephalopathy (n = 3). Encephalopathy was resistant to medical treatment in 2 cases, necessitating staged closure in 1. Ten patients (30%) required intervention to maintain TIPSS patency. The 1-year and 5-year freedom from reintervention was 71% and 55%, respectively.


A TIPSS is highly successful in controlling symptoms in children with resistant PHTN and facilitating liver transplantation. It is technically demanding and not without risk. Patients must be appropriately selected and counselled.

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