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Am J Gastroenterol. 1986 Oct;81(10):975-8.

Portographic opacification of hepatic veins and (anomalous) anastomoses between the portal and hepatic veins in cirrhosis--indication of extensive intrahepatic shunts.


On the premise that extensive intrahepatic portal-venous anastomoses known to occur in cirrhosis would be demonstrated by contrast medium directly placed in the portal vein, percutaneous transhepatic portograms were analyzed in 82 patients with liver cirrhosis in relation to the estimated degree of shunting. The degree of intrahepatic shunt was measured during transhepatic portography using 99mTc-macroaggregated albumin. Hepatic veins began to opacify at 4 to 10 s after the start of injection of contrast medium during portography in 20 patients with cirrhosis who had intrahepatic shunt indices of 58.5 +/- 18.5%, but it was not visualized in 62 patients with cirrhosis whose shunt indices were 19.9 +/- 14.1%. Anomalous large anastomoses of 1 or 2 mm in size between the right portal vein and the right hepatic vein were clearly visualized during portography in 18 of 20 patients in whom the hepatic vein was opacified. Frequency and time of beginning opacification of the hepatic vein were closely correlated with the degree of intrahepatic shunt. Thus, opacification of the hepatic vein and abnormal anastomoses between the portal and hepatic vein systems in an early phase of portography indicates extensive intrahepatic shunts.

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