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Abstract

The optimal management of ruptured gastric varices in patients with cirrhosis has not been codified yet. The present study reports the use of transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) in patients with refractory gastric variceal bleeding. Thirty-two consecutive patients were included. All had been unresponsive to vasoactive agents infusion, sclerotherapy, and/or tamponade and were considered poor surgical candidates. They were followed-up until death, transplantation, or at least 1 year (median: 509 days; range 4 to 2,230). Hemostasis was achieved in 18 out of 20 patients actively bleeding at the time of the procedure. In the whole sample of 32 patients, rebleeding rates were 14%, 26%, and 31%, respectively at 1 month, 6 months, and 1 year. De novo encephalopathy was observed in 5 (16%) patients. Seven patients experienced complications and consequently 4 of these patients died. TIPS primary patency rates were 84%, 74%, and 51%, respectively, at 1 month, 6 months, and 1 year. For the same periods of time, survival rates were 75%, 62%, and 59%. These results suggest that TIPS can be used in cirrhotic patients with refractory gastric variceal bleeding and are effective in achieving hemostasis as well as in preventing rebleeding.