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HPB Surgery
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 964597, 6 pages
Clinical Study

A Single-Institution Review of Portosystemic Shunts in Children: An Ongoing Discussion

Divisions of Pediatric, GI, and General Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, 200 First Street, South west, Rochester, MN 55905, USA

Received 10 December 2009; Accepted 1 March 2010

Academic Editor: Jakob Robert Izbicki

Copyright © 2010 J. B. Lillegard et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. Review the safety and long-term success with portosystemic shunts in children at a single institution. Methods. An IRB-approved, retrospective chart review of all children ages 19 and undergoing surgical portosystemic shunt from January 1990–September 2008. Results. Ten patients were identified, 8 females and 2 males, with a mean age of 15 years (range 5–19 years). Primary diagnoses were congenital hepatic fibrosis (5), hepatic vein thrombosis (2), portal vein thrombosis (2), and cystic fibrosis (1). Primary indications were repeated variceal bleeding (6), symptomatic hypersplenism (2), and significant liver dysfunction (2). Procedures performed were distal splenorenal bypass (4), side-to-side portocaval shunt (3), proximal splenorenal shunt (2), and an interposition H-graft portocaval shunt (1). There was no perioperative mortality and only minor morbidity. Seventy percent of patients had improvement of their symptoms. Eighty percent of shunts remained patent. Two were occluded at a median follow-up of 50 months (range 0.5–13.16 years). Two patients underwent subsequent liver transplantation. Two patients died at 0.5 and 12.8 years postoperatively, one from multisystem failure with cystic fibrosis and one from post-operative transplant complications. Conclusions. The need for portosystemic shunts in children is rare. However, in the era of liver transplantation, portosystemic shunts in selected patients with well-preserved liver function remains important. We conclude that portosystemic shunts are safe and efficacious in the control of variceal hemorrhage and symptoms related to hypersplenism.