Refractory Hepatic Encephalopathy After Elective Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt: Risk Factors and Outcomes with Revision
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Background and Aims
Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a common complication of elective transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) placement and is often successfully medically managed. Risk factors for refractory hepatic encephalopathy (RHE) necessitating revision of TIPS are not well defined. We evaluated the incidence, predictors, and outcomes of post-TIPS RHE necessitating TIPS revision.
In a retrospective cohort study of 174 consecutive patients undergoing elective TIPS placement (2010–2015), we evaluated the incidence of post-TIPS RHE. Clinical demographics and procedural variables were collected. 1-year outcomes after revision were collected.
Ten of 174 patients (5.7%) developed post-TIPS RHE requiring revision. Significant differences between RHE and non-refractory groups were shunt size > 8 versus ≤ 8 mm (18.5 vs. 3.4%, p = 0.001), history of HE (14 vs. 2%, p = 0.007), and serum albumin levels ≤ 2.5 versus > 2.5 g/dL (13.1 vs. 3.1%, p = 0.020). On multivariate analysis, shunt size > 8 mm (p = 0.001), history of HE prior to TIPS (p = 0.006), and low serum albumin (≤ 2.5 g/dL) (p = 0.022) remained independent predictors of RHE, controlling for age and Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score. RHE improved in 8 of 10 patients but survival at 1 year without liver transplantation (LT) was only 10%.
While TIPS revision successfully improves RHE in most cases, 1-year mortality rates are high, limiting the value of revision in non-LT candidates. Patients with previous history of HE and low serum albumin levels prior to TIPS may benefit most from the use of shunt sizes < 8 mm to mitigate the risk of RHE.
Level of Evidence
Level 4, case series.
KeywordsTIPS Hepatic encephalopathy Shunt reduction Shunt closure Nutrition
This study was not funded.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
For this type of study formal consent is not required.
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