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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2001 May;13(5):529-34.

Treatment of refractory hepatic hydrothorax with transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt: long-term results in 40 patients.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital, Freiburg, Germany.



Hepatic hydrothorax is a complication of portal hypertension secondary to ascites. In this study, we investigated retrospectively the effects of the transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) on hepatic hydrothorax refractory to diuretic treatment.


Forty patients (Child-Pugh class B, 24 patients; Child-Pugh class C, 16 patients) with hydrothorax refractory to diuretic treatment, pleurocenteses or pleurodesis were included. The TIPS implantation was successful in all patients, who were then followed for 16 +/- 14 months (range 1 day-54 months).


TIPS reduced the portosystemic pressure gradient from 26 +/- 6 to 10 +/- 5 mmHg. In the 17 patients whom we followed for 12 months or longer, improvements were found for the Child--Pugh score (8.6 +/- 1.8 v. 6.7 +/- 1.5), serum albumin concentration (3.1 +/- 0.5 v. 3.6 +/- 0.5 g/l), and urinary sodium excretion (22 +/- 29 v. 89 +/- 43 mmol/24 h) (P< 0.05). Two patients developed severe hepatic encephalopathy requiring shunt occlusion. Hydrothorax improved in 82% of patients and resolved in 71% of patients. Fifty per cent of patients developed shunt insufficiency within 7 +/- 9 months, contributing to a probability of relapse-free 1-year survival of 35%. In these patients, shunt revision resulted in a secondary response rate of 82.3%. The 1-year survival was 64%. Both hydrothorax response and survival showed a significant inverse correlation with age over 60 years (P< 0.01 and P< 0.003, respectively) but not with other biomedical variables.


TIPS is effective for hydrothorax refractory to diuretic treatment and other standard interventions to bridge the time to transplantation. Patients older than 60 years have a poor response and short survival.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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