Background: The aim of the present study was to compare elective transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) and laparoscopic splenectomy (LS) plus preoperative endoscopic varices ligation (EVL) in their efficacy in preventing recurrent bleeding and improving the long-term liver function in patients with liver cirrhosis and portal hypertension.
Methods: Between January 2009 and March 2012, we enrolled 83 patients (55 with TIPS, defined as the TIPS group, and 28 with LS plus preoperative EVL, defined as the LS group) with portal hypertension and a history of gastroesophageal variceal bleeding resulting from liver cirrhosis. The clinical characteristics, perioperative outcomes, and follow-up were recorded.
Results: No significant differences were observed between the two treatment groups with respect to the patients' characteristics and preoperative variables. Within 30 days after surgery, one patient in the TIPS group died of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, whereas no patient in the LS group died. Complications occurred in 14 patients in the TIPS group, which included rebleeding, encephalopathy, ascites, bleeding from a pseudoaneurysm of the thoracoabdominal aorta, and pulmonary infection, compared with 5 patients in the LS group, which included pulmonary effusion, pancreatic leakage, and portal vein thrombosis. During a mean follow-up of 13.6 months in the TIPS group and 12.3 months in the LS group, the actuarial survival was 85.5 % in the TIPS group versus 100 % in the LS group. The long-term complications included rebleeding and encephalopathy in the TIPS group.
Conclusions: LS plus EVL was superior to TIPS in the prevention of gastroesophageal variceal rebleeding in cirrhotic patients. This treatment was associated with a low rate of portosystemic encephalopathy and improvements in the long-term liver function.