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Am J Gastroenterol. 1997 Aug;92(8):1372-3.

Paradoxical cerebral emboli after transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt and coil embolization for treatment of duodenal varices.

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Department of Medicine, University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle 98195, USA.


The use of the transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt to treat portal hypertension has resulted in increased recognition of its associated complications. We report a patient with refractory duodenal variceal bleeding treated with transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt, as well as coil embolization, who subsequently developed bilateral cerebral and cerebellar infarcts consistent with arterial emboli. This complication has not been previously described. The patient was found to have a patent foramen ovale and a right to left intracardiac shunt leading to paradoxical embolization of clots traveling from portal to systemic venous circulation, then to the left atrium. With the relative frequency of patent foramen ovale in the population, our observation has potential importance for patients with right to left cardiac shunts who are being considered for portosystemic shunt procedures, or who are undergoing embolization of bleeding varices.

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