Outcome of total splenectomy with portosystemic shunt for massive splenomegaly and variceal bleeding in cystic fibrosis

J Pediatr Surg. 2006 Sep;41(9):1561-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2006.05.006.


Multilobular biliary cirrhosis and portal hypertension are frequent complications of cystic fibrosis liver disease, leading to esophageal varices and splenomegaly. Therapy is focused on variceal bleeding control; however, reduction of spleen volume is also important to restore gastric volume and resolve invalidating abdominal discomfort. We report long-term follow up (median duration, 5.5 years; range, 14 months-21.5 years) of 6 patients with cystic fibrosis (4 men, 2 women; median age, 14 years; range, 8-18 years) who underwent splenectomy with a splenorenal shunt operation. Three patients received elective surgery for massive splenomegaly with important abdominal discomfort, recurrent variceal bleeding, and hypersplenism. Three were urgently treated to control variceal bleeding after several sessions of sclerotherapy. All but 2 received antipneumococcal vaccination before surgery. Four patients had a weight gain of 10% within 3 months of surgery, and 3 developed spontaneous puberty. Lung function remained stable, and there was an overall reduction of respiratory tract infections. The youngest patient, however, died of overwhelming septicemia during treatment with steroids. Although total splenectomy has important risks, in well-selected cases, it can have benefits. Immuno- and chemoprophylaxis, combined with patient awareness of supplementary risk of infections is indispensable to minimize septic complications.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications*
  • Esophageal and Gastric Varices / etiology
  • Esophageal and Gastric Varices / surgery*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Recurrence
  • Splenectomy*
  • Splenomegaly / etiology
  • Splenomegaly / surgery*
  • Splenorenal Shunt, Surgical*
  • Treatment Outcome