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May 1975

Conventional Splenorenal Shunts: A Reconsideration

Author Affiliations

From the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minn.

Arch Surg. 1975;110(5):588-593. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1975.01360110134022

From 1961 to 1971, 73 central splenorenal and 66 portacaval shunts were done for cirrhotic patients who had bled from esophageal varices. Comparative analysis revealed low (3% and 2%, respectively) operative mortality for elective operations, equal (93%) effectiveness in control of variceal bleeding, but substantial differences in the incidence of postshunt encephalopathy. For patients who had minimal hepatic dysfunction before operation, disabling disorders in mentation developed in 5% of patients who had splenorenal shunts, in contrast to 50% of patients who had portacaval shunts. Survival rates after the two shunts were nearly identical. Thus, the advantages of splenorenal shunts concern the quality of life but not the length of survival. These observations are considered in relation to available therapeutic alternatives.

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