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Am J Gastroenterol. 1999 May;94(5):1361-5.

Predictors of clinical response to transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) in cirrhotic patients with refractory ascites.

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Gastroenterology Division, Royal-Victoria Hospital and McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada.



Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) is used increasingly as a treatment for refractory ascites. The aim of the present study was to determine the prognostic value of different parameters in predicting a favorable evolution following TIPS in a cohort of 53 cirrhotic patients without organic renal disease and with refractory ascites.


Patients were classified as good responders if they survived more than 6 months, without severe chronic hepatic encephalopathy and with good control of ascites. The prognostic value for a good outcome was evaluated using age, creatinine clearance, plasma renin activity, plasma aldosterone, and Pugh score.


Good control of ascites was obtained in 90%. The cumulative survival rate was 54% at 6 months, 48% at 1 yr, and 39% at 2 yr. The vast majority of patients died of complications of hepatic insufficiency. Severe chronic hepatic encephalopathy developed in 26%. Overall, a good clinical response was observed in 47%. Creatinine clearance was identified as the only pre-TIPS factor to be significantly and independently associated with a good clinical response to TIPS for refractory ascites. A good clinical response was observed in 57% of patients with a creatinine clearance >36 ml/min compared to 9% of those with a clearance <36 ml/min (p < 0.01). This cutoff point in creatinine clearance had a sensitivity of 96% and a specificity of 36%; positive predictive and negative predictive values were 57% and 90%, respectively.


TIPS might be useful for the treatment of refractory ascites in cirrhotic patients without severe renal function impairment. However, the TIPS usefulness still has to be demonstrated compared to large volume paracentesis or Leveen shunt. In patients with poor renal function or with liver failure after TIPS, liver transplantation should be considered.

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