Objective: To assess the effects of transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) on systemic and renal hemodynamics, neurohumoral factors, and sodium homeostasis in patients with cirrhosis and refractory ascites.
Design: Prospective study with 1-year follow-up.
Setting: Tertiary referral center and university-affiliated hospital.
Patients: 7 patients with cirrhosis and refractory ascites had metabolic studies done while receiving a 22 mmol/d sodium, 1L/d fluid diet.
Intervention: TIPS insertion.
Measurements: Urinary sodium excretion, systemic and renal hemodynamics, hormonal profile, and central blood volume were measured before, at day 1 after, and at 1 month after TIPS insertion.
Results: Immediately after TIPS insertion, mean corrected sinusoid pressure decreased from 18.2 ±2.2 mm Hg to 7.7 ±1.3 mm Hg (P < 0.001); mean cardiac output increased from 6.83 ±0.68 L/min to 8.62 L/min (P = 0.005); and mean systemic vascular resistance decreased from 1018 ±103 dyne x s x cm−5 to 762 ±46 dyne x s x cm−5 (P = 0.011). Mean plasma renin activity, serum aldosterone levels, and 24-hour urinary sodium excretion (5.8 ±0.7 mmol/d before TIPS insertion compared with 6.0 ±1.8 mmol/d 1 day after insertion) were unchanged; mean elevated plasma norepinephrine levels significantly increased. By 1 month after insertion, mean proximal tubular reabsorption of sodium had decreased, and this had led to a mean natriuresis of 15.1 ±3.1 mmol/d (P = 0.02 compared with baseline), which was associated with a decrease in plasma renin activity and aldosterone levels to within the normal range.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that natriuresis associated with TIPS is delayed and occurs in the presence of increased systemic vasodilatation at 1 month after insertion and that TIPS insertion should not be done in any patients with refractory ascites without careful attention to cardiac and renal status. However, in carefully selected patients, TIPS is a safe and effective means of managing refractory ascites.