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eISSN: 1643-3750

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Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt may be superior to conservative therapy for variceal rebleeding in cirrhotic patients with non-tumoral portal vein thrombosis: A hypothesis

Xingshun Qi, Guohong Han, Chuangye He, Zhanxin Yin, Hongbo Zhang, Jianhong Wang, Jielai Xia, Hongwei Cai, Zhiping Yang, Ming Bai, Kaichun Wu, Daiming Fan

Med Sci Monit 2012; 18(8): HY37-41

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.883252


The presence of occlusive portal vein thrombosis (PVT) greatly changes the natural history of liver cirrhosis, because it not only significantly increases the incidence of variceal rebleeding but also negatively influences the survival. However, due to the absence of strong evidence, no standard treatment algorithm for the secondary prophylaxis of variceal bleeding in cirrhotic patients with non-tumoral PVT has been established.
        Previous randomized controlled trials have demonstrated that transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) can significantly decrease the incidence of variceal rebleeding in cirrhotic patients without PVT, compared with conservative therapy (i.e., endoscopic plus pharmacological therapy). Further, several large cohort studies have confirmed that TIPS can effectively prevent variceal rebleeding in cirrhotic patients with non-tumoral PVT. On the other hand, TIPS can facilitate recanalizing the thrombosed portal vein by endovascular manipulations, even in the presence of cavernous transformation of the portal vein (CTPV). More importantly, successful TIPS insertions can maintain the persistent portal vein patency, and avoid thrombus extension into the portal venous system. By comparison, anticoagulation therapy can achieve portal vein recanalization only in patients with partial PVT, but not in those with occlusive PVT or CTPV, and the use of anticoagulants may aggravate the risk of variceal bleeding in cirrhotic patients with a history of variceal bleeding.
        Collectively, we hypothesize that TIPS may be superior to conservative therapy for the prevention of variceal rebleeding in cirrhotic patients with non-tumoral PVT. Randomized controlled trials should be conducted to evaluate the survival benefit of TIPS in these patients.

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