Aiming at minimal invasiveness as a therapeutic strategy for Budd-Chiari syndrome


  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.


The 1-year spontaneous mortality rate in patients with Budd-Chiari syndrome (BCS) approaches 70%. No prospective assessment of indications and impact on survival of current therapeutic procedures has been performed. We evaluated a therapeutic strategy uniformly applied during the last 8 years in a single referral center. Fifty-one consecutive patients first received anticoagulation and were treated for associated diseases. Symptomatic patients were considered for hepatic vein recanalization; then for transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS), and finally for liver transplantation. The absence of a complete response led to the next procedure. Assessment was according to the strategy, whether procedures were technically applicable and successful. At entry, median (range) Child-Pugh score and Clichy prognostic index were 8 (5–12), and 5.4 (3.1–7.7), respectively. A complete response was achieved on medical therapy alone in 9 patients; after recanalization in 6, TIPS in 20, liver transplantation in 9, and retransplantation in 1. Of the 41 patients considered for recanalization, the procedure was not feasible in 27 and technically unsuccessful in 3. Of the 34 patients considered for TIPS, the procedure was considered not feasible in 9 and technically unsuccessful in 4. At 1 year of follow-up, a complete response to TIPS was achieved in 84%. One- and 5-year survival from starting anticoagulation were 96% (95% CI, 90–100) and 89% (95% CI, 79–100), respectively. In conclusion, excellent survival can be achieved in BCS patients when therapeutic procedures are introduced by order of increasing invasiveness, based on the response to previous therapy rather than on the severity of the patient's condition. (HEPATOLOGY 2006;44:1308–1316.)