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Ann Surg. 1989 Jan;209(1):51-6.

Effect of a prior portasystemic shunt on subsequent liver transplantation.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, UCLA School of Medicine.


Fifteen patients who had a prior portasystemic shunt underwent orthotopic liver transplantation. Shunt types were portacaval in six patients, H-graft mesocaval in six, distal splenorenal in two, and proximal splenorenal in one. Mean blood loss and hospital stay were highest in the portacaval group. Retransplants (two patients) and deaths (two patients) also were limited to this group. In this report, technical considerations, advantages, and disadvantages of the various shunt types are described. Management of patients with late stages of portal hypertension must include estimation of the effects of a portasystemic shunt on subsequent liver transplantation. It is concluded that portacaval shunts should be avoided in patients who may be considered for transplantation. Distal splenorenal shunts are best performed in younger patients with intractable variceal bleeding who are not expected to require transplantation in the near future. A mesocaval H-graft is the shunt of choice in patients who are current liver transplant candidates.

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