Objective: --To determine the effectiveness of the Palmaz balloon expandable stent for the creation of a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt. The device is designed to achieve portal decompression in patients with variceal hemorrhage secondary to portal hypertension.
Design: --Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunting was performed in eight patients during a 9-month period. Mean follow-up was 5 months.
Patients: --All patients had cirrhosis with portal hypertension and varices. Bleeding occurred in seven patients from esophageal varices and in one patient from hemorrhoids.
Main outcome measures: --Shunt patency and recurrent variceal hemorrhage.
Results: --Shunts created from a transjugular approach between a hepatic and a portal vein (diameters of 8 to 12 mm) lowered the average portosystemic pressure gradient from 36 to 11 mm Hg. Mean postoperative hospital stay was 7.7 days. Complete variceal decompression after transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt placement was identified endoscopically in all eight patients. The patient treated for hemorrhoids rebled and was treated successfully by transfemoral balloon expansion of the shunt diameter from 8 to 12 mm. All shunts were patent at 1 to 9 months (mean, 5 months) of follow-up.
Conclusion: --Initial results suggest that transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt is a safe and effective method of portal decompression for the treatment of variceal hemorrhage.