THE PORTAL-systemic shunt represents the definitive treatment for bleeding esophagogastric varices secondary to portal hypertension. The effectiveness of this procedure as a method of obviating future bleeding episodes is generally accepted. However, several questions remain unresolved. The ultimate effect of correcting the portal hypertension on life expectancy of cirrhotic patients has not been satisfactorily determined in controlled series.1,2 Similarly, there have been no well-controlled studies for emergency shunts.3 It is felt that part of the disparity in statistics is related to differences in the patient population of reported results. Therefore, the results of elective and emergency portal-systemic decompressive procedures for bleeding varices in patients with Laennec's cirrhosis and in patients in whom other disorders caused the portal hypertension have been compared.
Materials and Methods
The present study evaluates the cases of 57 patients who underwent 61 major portal-systemic decompressive procedures at Strong Memorial Hospital between January 1953 and