The reducing stent: treatment for transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt-induced refractory hepatic encephalopathy and liver failure

Radiology. 1995 Jan;194(1):175-9. doi: 10.1148/radiology.194.1.7997547.


Purpose: To examine the efficacy of a stent device in reducing the diameter of transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunts (TIPS) in patients with progressive liver failure or with shunt-induced hepatic encephalopathy.

Materials and methods: Seven patients with TIPS (four with severe hepatic encephalopathy, three with progressive liver failure) underwent transjugular implantation of a stent designed to reduce the flow through the original TIPS channel.

Results: Implantation of the reducing stent proceeded without complication. Duplex sonography showed that stent flow decreased by 41% +/- 18 (mean +/- standard deviation). The four patients with hepatic encephalopathy showed substantial improvement. Concentrations of plasma ammonium and serum bilirubin improved considerably. In contrast, functional impairment progressed in the three patients treated for liver failure. The patients soon died.

Conclusion: With the limited experience of treating these seven patients, the authors suggest that shunt-induced hepatic encephalopathy can be effectively treated with implantation of a reducing stent. Hepatic failure, however, is a deleterious complication that seems to be irreversible.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hepatic Encephalopathy / etiology
  • Hepatic Encephalopathy / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Liver Failure / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Portasystemic Shunt, Surgical / adverse effects
  • Portasystemic Shunt, Surgical / instrumentation*
  • Portasystemic Shunt, Surgical / methods
  • Stents*