The aim of this prospective, nonrandomized study was to assess the short- and long-term effects of transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) on hepatic and systemic hemodynamics and on gastroesophageal collateral flow in patients with cirrhosis and failure of chronic sclerotherapy. Cardiac output (CO), free and wedged pulmonary artery pressure (FPAP and WPAP), systemic vascular resistance (SVR), azygos venous blood flow (AzVBF), and the relative (portal minus vena cava) pressure in the portal vein (rel.PP) were determined immediately before, 30 minutes, 1 week, 3 months, and 1 year after TIPS implantation in 21 patients with alcoholic and biliary cirrhosis with repeated bleeding from esophageal varices despite chronic sclerotherapy. TIPS was inserted when patients were in a stable hemodynamic condition. Palmaz stents were dilated to a 10-mm to 14-mm diameter until gastroesophageal collaterals were no longer visible on direct splenoportography. Relative portal pressure decreased from 21 +/- 5 mm Hg to 11 +/- 5 mm Hg 30 minutes after the procedure (P <.001). CO increased from 7.1 +/- 1.5 L/min at baseline to 8.9 +/- 2.0 L/min (P <.005) at 30 minutes, 8.2 +/- 2.0 L/min (P <. 01) at 1 week, and 8.0 +/- 2.0 L/min (P <.01) at 3 months after TIPS, and returned to 7.2 +/- 1.3 L/min (ns) after 1 year. Before TIPS, SVR was 990 +/- 285 dyne. sec. cm-5 and decreased to 856 +/- 252 dyne. sec. cm-5 (P <.05) and 866 +/- 267 dyne. sec. cm-5 (P <.05) at 30 minutes and 1 week after the procedure, and increased again to 903 +/- 208 dyne. sec. cm-5 (ns) and 1,016 +/- 260 dyne. sec. cm-5 (ns) at 3 months and 1 year, respectively. AzVBF continuously decreased from 474 +/- 138 mL/min before TIPS to 335 +/- 116 mL/min, 289 +/- 147 mL/min, 318 +/- 157 mL/min, and 250 +/- 104 mL/min (all P <.005) at 30 minutes, 1 week, 3 months, and 1 year after TIPS. Portal decompression after TIPS is associated with a significant increase of CO for at least 3 months, which is only partly explained by a transient decrease of SVR. After 1 year, CO had returned to baseline levels. Despite an immediate decrease in portal pressure, the reduction of blood flow through gastroesophageal collaterals is delayed and not complete before 1 year after TIPS. In contrast to previous short-term observations, TIPS does not seem to cause long-term aggravation of the hyperkinetic circulation in patients with cirrhosis.