Background & aims: Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) procedures are increasingly being used, but the relationship between the hemodynamic effects of TIPS and the clinical events on follow-up remains undefined. Hence, we have investigated the hemodynamic correlations of portal hypertension-related events after a TIPS procedure.
Methods: Prospective follow-up of 122 cirrhotic patients who had a TIPS procedure performed because of variceal hemorrhage was conducted.
Results: The portacaval pressure gradient (PPG) significantly decreased after the TIPS procedure (from 19.7 +/- 4.6 to 8.6 +/- 2.7 mm Hg; P > 0.001), but increased thereafter and at rebleeding (n = 25) was > 12 mm Hg in all patients (18.4 +/- 4.6 mm Hg). Twenty-six patients developed ascites; the PPG (measured in 19) was always > 12 mm Hg. Increasing the PPG to > 12 mm Hg occurred very frequently (83% at 1 year). Within 1 year, 77% of patients underwent balloon angioplasty or restenting. However, 80% had again a PPG of > 12 mm Hg 1 year after reintervention. Hepatic encephalopathy developed in 31% of patients at 1 year; 21 of 23 patients had a PPG of < 12 mm Hg.
Conclusions: Total protection from the risk of recurrent complications of portal hypertension after a TIPS procedure requires that the PPG be decreased and maintained < 12 mm Hg. However, reintervention will be required in most patients within 1 year and again the second year. On the other hand, such portal decompression is associated with an increased risk of hepatic encephalopathy.