Emergency portosystemic shunt in patients with variceal bleeding

G. P. Spina, R. Santambrogio, E. Opocher, G. Gagliano, G. Cucchiaro, A. Pisani, M. Macri

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Thirty-five patients for whom emergency sclerotherapy or conservative treatment, or both, failed to arrest variceal bleeding, or who had early rebleeding and required emergency portosystemic shunts (EPSS) were studied. EPSS permanently controlled the variceal bleeding in all but one patient. In this patient, the shunt was patent as demonstrated by angiography. Esophageal varices disappeared in 18 patients and were reduced in 14. Three patients died before the endoscopic examination could be performed. The causes of death were hepatic failure in two and bleeding ulcerations of the gastric fundus in the other patient. One patient was classified in Child's category B and two in Child's category C. Thirty-two patients submitted to EPSS and were discharged alive. Twelve of these patients subsequently died, at an average of 11.2 months after undergoing the shunt procedure. Four of 12 patients died of hepatic failure; two patients died of hepatomas; two, other neoplasia; three, hemorrhaging duodenal ulcers, and one patient, renal failure. Analysis of actuarial survival rates showed that the five year survival rate was 43 per cent. The long term survival rates were fewer for patients with Child's category C than for those with combined Child's categories A and B (five year survival rates were 21 versus 55 per cent; p<0.05). During the follow-up period, none of the patients had variceal bleeding. Chronic encephalopathy developed in six, which was mild in three, moderate in one instance and severe in two. It developed soon after EPSS, with onset in the first month after discharge in three. Thus, when conservative treatment fails to arrest variceal bleeding, EPSS should be performed to guarantee definitive control of hemorrhage and prolong the survival period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)456-464
Number of pages9
JournalSurgery Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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