Published online Feb 14, 2014. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i6.1602
Revised: November 13, 2013
Accepted: December 12, 2013
Published online: February 14, 2014
AIM: To evaluate transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) with covered stents for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with main portal vein tumor thrombus (PVTT).
METHODS: Eleven advanced HCC patients (all male, aged 37-78 years, mean: 54.3 ± 12.7 years) presented with acute massive upper gastrointestinal bleeding (n = 9) or refractory ascites (n = 2) due to tumor thrombus in the main portal vein. The diagnosis of PVTT was based on contrast-enhanced computed tomography and color Doppler sonography. The patients underwent TIPS with covered stents. Clinical characteristics and average survival time of 11 patients were analyzed. Portal vein pressure was assessed before and after TIPS. The follow-up period was 2-18 mo.
RESULTS: TIPS with covered stents was successfully completed in all 11 patients. The mean portal vein pressure was reduced from 32.0 to 11.8 mmHg (t = 10.756, P = 0.000). Gastrointestinal bleeding was stopped in nine patients. Refractory ascites completely disappeared in one patient and was alleviated in another. Hepatic encephalopathy was observed in six patients and was resolved with drug therapy. During the follow-up, ultrasound indicated the patency of the shunt and there was no recurrence of symptoms. Death occurred 2-14 mo (mean: 5.67 mo) after TIPS in nine cases, which were all due to multiple organ failure. In the remaining two cases, the patients were still alive at the 16- and 18-mo follow-up, respectively.
CONCLUSION: TIPS with covered stents for HCC patients with tumor thrombus in the main portal vein is technically feasible, and short-term efficacy is favorable.
Core tip: Tumor thrombus invasion of portal veins is very common in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma patients, especially in the patients presenting with upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage. Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) with bare stents has been attempted to treat those patients. We choose Fluency stent (Bard Inc, Germany) in this study, and our primary experience showed that the efficacy of TIPS with covered stents is favorable for treatment of complications related to portal hypertension due to tumor thrombus invasion in the main portal vein. Significant improvement of symptoms was observed in all the patients. The patency rate was 100%.