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Gastroenterology. 1995 Sep;109(3):978-83.

Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt improves oxygenation in hepatopulmonary syndrome.

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Department of Medicine, Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, USA.


Hepatopulmonary syndrome is a complication of chronic liver disease in which arterial hypoxemia results from abnormalities in pulmonary blood flow. Severe hypoxemia can lead to clinical deterioration and death. Although the etiology is unknown, portal hypertension seems to be an important factor in the development of hepatopulmonary syndrome. No effective pharmacological therapy has been identified, but liver transplantation may be curative. Arterial hypoxemia may complicate transplant surgery, however, and resolution of the syndrome after liver transplantation is performed may be delayed. In addition, it seems that complete reversal of oxygenation abnormalities after liver transplantation is performed is unpredictable. We described a patient with hepatopulmonary syndrome who noted improvement in symptoms of dyspnea after the placement of a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt. Arterial oxygenation and calculated shunt fraction improved significantly during the follow-up period, and liver transplantation was subsequently performed without difficulty. Portal decompression using transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt may represent a palliative therapy for hepatopulmonary syndrome in patients awaiting liver transplantation.

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