When is a portacaval shunt indicated in the treatment of cirrhosis?

Updated: Jul 30, 2018
  • Author: David C Wolf, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF, FAASLD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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The prime indication for portocaval shunt surgery is the management of refractory variceal bleeding. Since 1945, however, the medical field has recognized that portocaval shunts, by decompressing the hepatic sinusoid, may improve ascites. The performance of a side-to-side portocaval shunt for ascites management must be weighed against the approximate 5% mortality rate associated with this surgery and the chance (as high as 30%) of inducing hepatic encephalopathy.

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