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Gastroenterology. 1998 May;114(5):975-80.

The inaccuracy of duplex ultrasonography in predicting patency of transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunts.

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Department of Radiology, University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois 60612-7323, USA.



A prospective double-blinded study with preset sonographic criteria has not been performed to assess the accuracy of duplex ultrasonography in determining the patency of transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunts (TIPS). The purpose of this study was to determine the sensitivity and specificity of duplex ultrasonography in predicting shunt malfunction using accepted preset sonographic criteria.


Sixty ultrasonographic and venographic follow-up comparisons were made on 38 cirrhotic patients who had undergone TIPS placement for variceal bleeding (n = 28) or intractable ascites (n = 10). Ultrasonographic results were analyzed by one of two board-certified ultrasonographers without knowledge of venographic findings.


Of the 31 occluded (n = 8) and stenotic (n = 23) shunts, ultrasonography accurately predicted a shunt malfunction (occlusion or stenosis) in only 11 studies and incorrectly predicted patency in 20. Compared with venography, ultrasonography had a sensitivity of 35% and a specificity of 83% in predicting TIPS stenosis or occlusion.


These results suggest that duplex sonography is not a sensitive test in predicting the presence of a hemodynamically significant stenosis and that shunt status should be assessed by venography and direct portal pressure measurements until a more reliable and proven noninvasive ultrasonographic criterion is devised.

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