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June 1998

Partial Portacaval Shunt for Variceal Hemorrhage: Longitudinal Analysis of Effectiveness

Author Affiliations

From the Surgical Service, Long Beach Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Long Beach, Calif; and the Department of Surgery, University of California, Irvine. Dr Collins is now with the Department of Surgery, Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, Los Angeles, Calif.

Arch Surg. 1998;133(6):590-593. doi:10.1001/archsurg.133.6.590

Objective  To determine rates of survival, long-term patency, and recurrent variceal hemorrhage among patients with alcoholic cirrhosis treated by partial portacaval shunt.

Design  Single-institution cohort follow-up study of 72 consecutive patients who underwent small-diameter portacaval H-graft shunt with collateral ablation during a 10-year period (1981 through 1990). Subjects were enrolled and followed up for up to 15 years. Shunt patency was assessed by portography and/or ultrasonography. We performed 7-year Kaplan-Meier analyses of survival (in 65 patients in Child classes A and B), shunt patency, and absence of variceal bleeding.

Setting  Tertiary academic referral center of the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

Patients  Patients with alcoholic cirrhosis were considered for operation after at least 1 proven episode of variceal hemorrhage. Patients with portal vein thrombosis were excluded; patients in Child class C underwent operation only for compelling indications. Of the 72 who underwent partial shunting, 38 were in Child class A, 27 were in class B, and 7 were in class C.

Interventions  Partial portacaval shunt (6-, 8- or 10-mm polytetrafluoroethylene H-graft with collateral ablation) and serial follow-up.

Main Outcome Measures  Study end points were death, recurrent variceal hemorrhage, and unavailability for follow-up. Other measures included graft patency and nonvariceal rebleeding.

Results  Cumulative probability of 7-year patency for grafts at risk was 95%. The 7-year probability for absence of variceal bleeding in patients at risk was 92%. In 65 patients in Child classes A and B, operative mortality was 7.7% and the cumulative probability of 7-year survival was 54%.

Conclusion  For variceal bleeding associated with alcoholic cirrhosis, the small-diameter polytetrafluoroethylene portacaval H-graft with collateral ablation affords durable patency and protection against variceal rebleeding.