Background & aims: Data on the management of portal vein thrombosis (PVT) in patients with decompensated cirrhosis are extremely limited, particularly in the cases of the transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS). We assessed the outcome of TIPS for PVT in patients with cirrhosis and symptomatic portal hypertension and determined the predictors of technical success and survival.
Methods: In the retrospective study, 57 consecutive patients receiving TIPS were enrolled between December 2001 and September 2008. All were diagnosed with chronic PVT, and 30 had portal cavernoma. Indications for TIPS were variceal hemorrhage (n = 56) and refractory ascites (n = 1).
Results: TIPS were successfully placed in 75% of patients (43/57). The independent predictors of technical success included portal cavernoma, and the degree of thrombosis within the main portal vein (MPV), the portal vein branches, and the superior mesenteric vein. Only one patient died of severe procedure-related complication. The cumulative 1-year shunt dysfunction and hepatic encephalopathy rates were 21% and 25%, respectively. The cumulative 1- and 5-year variceal re-bleeding rates differed significantly between the TIPS success and failure groups (10% and 28% versus 43% and 100%, respectively; p = 0.0004), while the cumulative 1- and 5-year survival rates were similar between the two groups (86% and 77% versus 78% and 62%, respectively; p = 0.34). The independent predictor of survival in PVT patients with decompensated cirrhosis was the degree of MPV occlusion (hazard ratio 0.189, 95% CI 0.042-0.848).
Conclusions: TIPS should be considered a safe and feasible alternative therapy for chronic PVT in selected patients with decompensated cirrhosis. Both technical success and survival were closely associated with the degree of MPV occlusion.
Copyright © 2010 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.