A meta-analysis of transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt versus paracentesis for refractory ascites

J Hepatol. 2005 Dec;43(6):990-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2005.06.005. Epub 2005 Jul 5.


Background/aims: Meta-analysis designed to provide evidence-based guidance on the effect of TIPS and paracentesis on mortality and encephalopathy in cirrhotic patients with refractory ascites.

Methods: Five randomized trials published between 1989 and 2005 were identified.

Results: The five trials involved 330 patients, and none included patients >76 years, with bilirubin >5-10 mg/dl or creatinine >3 mg/dl. Ascites recurrence was lower in the TIPS arm (RR 0.56; 95% CI 0.47-0.66). TIPS was associated with a greater risk of encephalopathy (RR 1.36; 95% CI 1.1-1.68) and severe encephalopathy (RR 1.72; 95% CI 1.14-2.58). TIPS did not affect mortality, as estimated by the RR (0.93; 95% CI 0.67-1.28, random effect model) and pooled hazard ratio (RR 1.09; 95% CI 0.84-1.88). Analysis of this outcome measure was limited by significant heterogeneity among trials. Liver-related mortality was homogenous and similar in both arms. Results were unaffected by excluding trials of lower quality or with a greater number of alcoholics. Meta-analysis of trials including patients with recidivant ascites revealed a lower mortality in the TIPS arm (RR 0.68; 95% CI 0.49-0.93).

Conclusions: In patients with refractory ascites, a better control of ascites by TIPS does not translate into improved survival and worsens encephalopathy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ascites / etiology
  • Ascites / therapy*
  • Hepatic Encephalopathy / etiology
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications*
  • Paracentesis*
  • Portasystemic Shunt, Transjugular Intrahepatic* / adverse effects