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October 1984

Peritoneovenous Shunts: Lessons Learned From an Eight-Year Experience With 70 Patients

Arch Surg. 1984;119(10):1133-1137. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1984.01390220019004

• The peritoneovenous shunt (PVS) is preferred over other treatment modalities in the treatment of the cirrhotic patient who has intractable ascites. The favorable effects on nutrition, pulmonary, and renal function, in addition to prompt control of ascites, frequently overshadow potentially life-threatening complications. We summarized our experience with the PVS in 70 patients with portal hypertension at Emory University, Atlanta, and identified the perioperative complications and operative mortalities. Late complications of sepsis and variceal hemorrhage were frequent and often were fatal. Of the multiple preoperative clinical and laboratory determinants, only the serum bilirubin level (≥3 mg/dL) was predictive of the operative mortality and longevity of survivors. The PVS should be reserved for patients with disabling, truly refractory ascites.

(Arch Surg 1984;119:1133-1137)