Randomised trial of transjugular-intrahepatic-portosystemic shunt versus endoscopy plus propranolol for prevention of variceal rebleeding

Lancet. 1997 Apr 12;349(9058):1043-9. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(96)08189-5.


Background: The transjugular-intrahepatic-portosystemic shunt is a new interventional treatment for portal hypertension. The aim of our study was to compare the transjugular shunt with endoscopic treatment for the prophylaxis of recurrent variceal bleeding.

Methods: Between March, 1993, and March, 1996, 126 patients with variceal bleeding were randomly assigned either transjugular shunt (n = 61) or endoscopic treatment (n = 65). Patients were followed up for a median of 14 (IQR 8-25) months and 13 (8-25) months, respectively. In 31 (51%) of the shunted patients, simultaneous transjugular-variceal embolisation was done at the time of shunt placement. Endoscopic treatment consisted of sclerotherapy and/or banding ligation and was combined with propranolol medication.

Findings: Technical success was achieved in all patients assigned to the shunt group. During follow-up, the cumulative 1-year variceal rebleeding rates in the shunted and endoscopically treated patients were 15% and 41% and the 2-year rates were 21% and 52% (p = 0.001), respectively. In nine (12%) patients from the endoscopic group treatment failed and the patients received the transjugular-shunt treatment. A total of 19 bleeding episodes from any source occurred in 15 patients in the shunt group compared with 100 episodes in 33 patients in the endoscopic group. There was no difference in survival with estimated 1-year survival rates for shunted and endoscopically treated patients of 90% and 89%, and 2-year survival rates of 79% and 82%, respectively. The incidence of clinically significant hepatic encephalopathy after 1 year was higher in the shunt group (36% vs 18%, p = 0.011).

Interpretation: These results suggest, that the transjugular shunt is more effective than endoscopic treatment in prevention of variceal rebleeding but has a considerable risk of hepatic encephalopathy. Survival is similar in the two groups.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Embolization, Therapeutic
  • Endoscopy
  • Esophageal and Gastric Varices / drug therapy
  • Esophageal and Gastric Varices / mortality
  • Esophageal and Gastric Varices / surgery
  • Esophageal and Gastric Varices / therapy*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / prevention & control*
  • Hepatic Encephalopathy
  • Humans
  • Ligation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Portasystemic Shunt, Transjugular Intrahepatic*
  • Propranolol / therapeutic use*
  • Recurrence
  • Sclerotherapy*
  • Survival Rate


  • Propranolol