Background: Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) is used in the management of refractory ascites (RA) and variceal bleeds. Little data exist on TIPS safety, efficacy, and survival after liver transplantation (LT). METHODS.: We conducted a retrospective analysis of patients who underwent TIPS placement after LT for RA. Clinical success was defined as a reduction of portosystemic gradient (PSG) and resolution of RA. Results: Twenty-six patients underwent TIPS. The most common indication for LT was hepatitis C virus (88%). Median time from LT to TIPS was 17 months (1-89 months). Median pre-TIPS model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score was 15 (7-33). The median pre-TIPS PSG was 18 mm Hg (7-38 mm Hg). Median change in the PSG after TIPS was 11 mm Hg (1-27 mm Hg). Fifty-eight percent (15/26) of TIPS were considered clinically successful. Median post-TIPS patient survival was 15 months (1-109 months). Cumulative 1-year post-TIPS patient survival was 50%. On multivariate analysis, pre-TIPS MELD was a significant and independent predictor of patient survival (P<0.01). The 3- and 6-month patient mortality and graft loss for patients with a pre-TIPS MELD of more than or equal to 15 were significantly higher than those with a pre-TIPS MELD score of less than 15 (P<0.01). The overall median survival for patients with a pre-TIPS MELD score of more than or equal to 15 was 3 months (1-59 months) compared with 45 months (2-109 months) for patients with pre-TIPS MELD score of less than 15. Conclusions: TIPS after LT can be clinically effective in patients with RA with a MELD score less than 15. This suggests that TIPS could be used as a means to extend posttransplant survival but should be carefully individualized in patients with a MELD score more than or equal to 15.
- Liver transplantation
- MELD score
- Refractory ascites
- Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt
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