Department of Internal Medicine, Banner University Medical Center Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ, USA.
University of Arizona College of Medicine Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ, USA.
College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ, USA.
Department of Interventional Radiology, Banner University Medical Center Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ, USA.
Transplant and Advanced Liver Disease Center, Banner University Medical Center Phoenix, 1441 N 12th Street, 2nd Floor, Phoenix, AZ, 85006, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org.
University of Arizona College of Medicine Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ, USA. email@example.com.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS:
Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a common complication of elective transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) placement and is often successfully medically managed. Risk factors for refractory hepatic encephalopathy (RHE) necessitating revision of TIPS are not well defined. We evaluated the incidence, predictors, and outcomes of post-TIPS RHE necessitating TIPS revision.
In a retrospective cohort study of 174 consecutive patients undergoing elective TIPS placement (2010-2015), we evaluated the incidence of post-TIPS RHE. Clinical demographics and procedural variables were collected. 1-year outcomes after revision were collected.
Ten of 174 patients (5.7%) developed post-TIPS RHE requiring revision. Significant differences between RHE and non-refractory groups were shunt size > 8 versus ≤ 8 mm (18.5 vs. 3.4%, p = 0.001), history of HE (14 vs. 2%, p = 0.007), and serum albumin levels ≤ 2.5 versus > 2.5 g/dL (13.1 vs. 3.1%, p = 0.020). On multivariate analysis, shunt size > 8 mm (p = 0.001), history of HE prior to TIPS (p = 0.006), and low serum albumin (≤ 2.5 g/dL) (p = 0.022) remained independent predictors of RHE, controlling for age and Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score. RHE improved in 8 of 10 patients but survival at 1 year without liver transplantation (LT) was only 10%.
While TIPS revision successfully improves RHE in most cases, 1-year mortality rates are high, limiting the value of revision in non-LT candidates. Patients with previous history of HE and low serum albumin levels prior to TIPS may benefit most from the use of shunt sizes < 8 mm to mitigate the risk of RHE.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:
Level 4, case series.