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World J Surg. 1994 Mar-Apr;18(2):193-9.

Surgical management of acute variceal hemorrhage.

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Department of Surgery, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha 68198-3280.


The advent of more effective nonoperative therapies, mainly endoscopic variceal sclerosis, has decreased the need for emergency surgery for control of acute variceal hemorrhage. In centers where it is available, nonoperative portal decompression by transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunting (TIPS) is likely to have a further impact. When acute or chronic sclerotherapy fails or when bleeding is secondary to gastric varices or portal hypertensive gastropathy, emergency surgery may be life-saving and should be done promptly before worsening hepatic functional decompensation develops. Child's class C liver disease is not a contraindication to emergency surgery; many patients who fail nonoperative attempts at control of bleeding are of this risk status. The most commonly utilized emergency procedures are portacaval and interposition mesocaval shunts, both of which are effective, and esophageal transection, which is associated with a higher incidence of late rebleeding. An emergency distal splenorenal shunt is appropriate for selected patients who are not actively bleeding at the time of surgery. TIPS is the preferred alternative for acute or chronic endoscopic sclerotherapy failures who are candidates for liver transplantation within the succeeding 6 to 12 months.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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