Background & aims: Currently, there are no recommendations in guidelines concerning the preferred diameter of stents for transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS), owing to the lack of adequate evidence. We therefore compared 8mm stents with 10mm stents, to evaluate whether 8mm stents would achieve similar shunt function, with less hepatic encephalopathy (HE) and better liver function.
Methods: Cirrhotic patients were randomly assigned to receive TIPS with an 8mm or 10mm covered stent to prevent variceal rebleeding. The primary endpoint was shunt dysfunction. All-cause rebleeding, orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT)-free survival, their composite endpoint, overt HE (overall and spontaneous) and liver function were designated as the secondary endpoints.
Results: From July 2012 to January 2014, 64 and 63 patients were allocated to the 8mm and 10mm groups, respectively. During a median follow-up of 27months in both arms, dysfunction rates (16% vs. 16% at two years, p=0.62), two-year rebleeding (16% vs. 17%, p=0.65), OLT-free survival (95% vs. 86%, p=0.37), and the composite endpoint (p=0.62) were not statistically different between the groups. Despite a marginal decrease in overall overt HE, there were significantly fewer spontaneous overt HE incidents in the 8mm group within two years (27% vs. 43%, p=0.03), with a risk reduction of 47%. Notably, patients receiving 8mm stents also developed less hepatic impairment.
Conclusions: TIPS with 8mm covered stents showed similar shunt function to TIPS with 10mm stents, but halved the risk of spontaneous overt HE and reduced hepatic impairment. Therefore, 8mm TIPS stents should be preferred for the prevention of variceal rebleeding in cirrhotic patients. Lay summary: The optimal diameter for transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) remained uncertain. This study showed that TIPS with 8mm covered stents did not compromise shunt patency, or influence the efficacy of variceal rebleeding prevention compared to TIPS with 10mm stents, but reduced the risk of spontaneous overt hepatic encephalopathy and the incidence of severe encephalopathy. Moreover, liver function reserve was also better in the 8mm stents group, suggesting that 8mm TIPS stents should be preferred for the prevention of variceal rebleeding in cirrhotic patients.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01410591.
Keywords: Hepatic encephalopathy; Liver cirrhosis; Stent diameter; Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt; Variceal bleeding.
Copyright © 2017 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.