Background: A transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) is increasingly being used for treatment of patients with refractory ascites and functional renal failure. In contrast, organic renal disease is commonly considered a relative contraindication for TIPS placement. The aim of this pilot study was to investigate the effects of TIPS in patients with refractory ascites and organic or functional renal impairment.
Methods: A TIPS was placed for refractory or intractable ascites in 10 consecutive patients with liver cirrhosis and impaired renal function (serum creatinine > 1.5 mg/100 ml). Four of them had organic kidney disorders. Of these patients, three had moderate renal impairment, and one had end-stage renal disease and needed hemodialysis every other day. The other six patients had functional renal impairment due to the underlying liver disease.
Results: TIPS was effective in reducing ascites in 8 of 10 patients, including all patients with organic renal disease. Furthermore, after TIPS the renal function improved in all patients. Serum creatinine and serum urea levels decreased significantly from 1.8 +/- 0.1 to 1.5 +/- 0.1 mg/100 ml (P < 0.05) and from 107 +/- 13 to 78 +/- 14 mg/100 ml (P < 0.05), respectively. The renal function of the three patients with organic renal failure improved similarly, as observed in the six patients with functional renal failure. In the patient on hemodialysis, TIPS was effective in reducing the frequency of paracenteses.
Conclusion: TIPS may be useful in patients with functional and in patients with organic renal disease, resulting in improvement of ascites and renal function.