Shunt surgeries are designed to redirect the flow of blood or
abdominal fluid through other areas of the body. Shunts are rarely used because
of the complications they may cause. They are done only in medical centers where
the surgeon is experienced in doing the procedures.
Peritoneovenous shunts. These shunts may reduce fluid
buildup in the abdominal cavity (ascites) by diverting the fluid into normal
Portacaval shunts. Portacaval shunts may lower blood
pressure in the portal vein by diverting the flow of blood from the portal vein
to the large vein that returns blood to the heart (vena cava).
Who are not good liver
transplant candidates because of advanced age, continuing alcohol use, or
When other treatments (such as variceal banding for bleeding or diuretics for ascites) have not worked.
Who have ascites and can't have a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) or repeated paracenteses.
Who do not have close access to medical care
and cannot quickly return for more variceal banding
treatments or paracenteses.
Complications of shunt surgery may include changes in mental function
(encephalopathy). People who have large-diameter
portacaval shunts have a 30% to 40% rate of encephalopathy.1
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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