Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt placement before abdominal intervention in cirrhotic patients with portal hypertension: lessons from a pilot study

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Abdominal interventions are usually contraindicated in patients with cirrhosis and portal hypertension because of increased morbidity and mortality. Decreasing portal pressure with transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) may improve patient outcomes. We report our experience with patients treated by neoadjuvant TIPS to identify those who would most benefit from this two-step procedure.

Patients and methods

All patients treated by dedicated neoadjuvant TIPS between 2005 and March 2013 in two tertiary referral hospitals were included. The primary endpoint was the rate of failure, defined by the inability to proceed to the planned intervention after TIPS placement or persistent liver decompensation 3 months after intervention. The secondary endpoints were the rate of complications, parameters associated with failure, and 1-year survival.


Twenty-eight consecutive patients were included, with a mean age of 61.2±6.6 years, mean Child–Pugh score of 6.6±1.5, and mean model for end-stage liver disease score of 10.4±3.3. Procedures were digestive (43%) or liver (25%) resections, abdominal wall surgery (21%), or interventional gastrointestinal endoscopies (11%). The scheduled procedure was performed in 24 (86%) patients within a median of 25 days after TIPS. Procedure failures occurred in six (21%) patients: four did not undergo surgery and two experienced persistent liver decompensation. Seven (25%) patients had postoperative complications, mainly local. Viral origin of cirrhosis, history of encephalopathy, and hepatic surgery were found to be associated with failure. One-year survival in the whole cohort was 70%.


In selected patients, extrahepatic surgery or interventional endoscopies can be safely performed after portal hypertension has been controlled by TIPS.

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