Spontaneous Splenorenal Shunt in Liver Transplantation: Results of Left Renal Vein Ligation Versus Renoportal Anastomosis

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Management of portal inflow to the graft in patients with spontaneous splenorenal shunts (SRS) is a matter of concern especially in case of large varices (more than 1 cm). In case of portal vein (PV) thrombosis (PVT), renoportal anastomosis (RPA) directly diverts the splanchnic and renal venous blood assuring a good portal inflow to the graft. Disconnection of the portacaval shunt by left renal vein ligation (LRVL) is another option but requires a patent PV. The indication of primary RPA rather than LRVL in patients with small native PV, especially in case of large graft, should be questioned in these complex cases of liver transplantation.


From 1998 to 2012, 17 patients with RPA and 15 patients with LRVL were transplanted in our center. We compared these 2 techniques for short- and long-term results.


The rate of preliver transplantation PVT (76% vs 27%) and graft weight (1538 ± 383 g vs 1293 ± 216 g) was significantly higher in the RPA group. Renoportal anastomosis was performed in 4 cases of small but patent PV. Three-month mortality, morbidity, and massive ascitis were similar. No patient was retransplanted. One year after transplantation, PV diameter was still larger in RPA group. Three-year survival was similar (RPA: 79% vs LRVL: 53%, P = 0.1).


In cirrhotic patients transplanted with large splenorenal shunts, RPA and LRVL reach similar survivals. In case of complete PVT and failure of thrombectomy, the RPA offers satisfactory long-term results.

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