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EJMCR. 2023; 7(3): 70-74

Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt reduction for refractory hepatic encephalopathy: a case series

Marcus Allen Healey, Nikki Duong, Kunal Patel, Brian Strife, Richard K. Sterling.


Background: Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) is a therapeutic intervention for refractory ascites and variceal bleeding. However, the development of hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a known complication. TIPS diameter can be reduced to decrease further HE episodes when refractory to pharmacotherapy. However, TIPS reduction for refractory hepatic encephalopathy (rHE) is poorly described. This case series identifies various characteristics and outcomes among this unique patient cohort.
Case Presentation: In this cohort of 8 patients, 63% were male, 75% were Caucasian, and 38% had alcohol-associated cirrhosis. Following TIPS reduction, the number of HE-related admissions (mean, median) decreased from 2.1 and 2 to 1.6 and 0.5 while the number of non-HE admissions following TIPS reduction increased from 0.6 and 0 to 1 and 0.5.
Conclusion: TIPS reduction reduced the number of hospitalizations for rHE but the total number of hospitalizations for all causes increased, demonstrating the high resource utilization for those with rHE following TIPS. Therefore, careful selection for initial TIPS placement remains a priority.

Key words: Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS), refractory ascites (RA), variceal bleed (VB), refractory hepatic encephalopathy (rHE), case report.

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