Doppler ultrasound (DUS) is frequently performed as a screening and diagnostic modality to evaluate the transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) for short- and intermediate-term complications of the procedure. However, the clinical significance of initial frequently observed abnormalities in flow velocities, gradient, and direction in patients with covered TIPS is less studied. A retrospective study was performed between January 2005 and December 2014, and all patients undergoing covered TIPS procedure for the management of portal hypertension were included. Abnormal DUS findings were defined as intrashunt peak systolic velocities (PSVs) less than 90 or greater than 190 cm/s, intrashunt gradient greater than 50 cm/s, and abnormal flow direction in the main, right, and/or left portal veins. A total of 283 patients with adequate clinical follow-up and baseline TIPS DUS were included in the study. Median follow-up was 18.2 months. During the follow-up period, portal hypertension symptoms recurred in 83 patients who underwent TIPS angiography and/or revision. Of the 83, 57 had an elevated portosystemic gradient (>12 mm Hg) requiring angioplasty/stenting. With regard to baseline ultrasound, low PSVs were present in 88 patients (31.1%), high PSVs in 44 patients (15.5%), and elevated gradient in 98 patients (34.6%). The rate of developing TIPS stenosis in the future was not higher in patients with abnormal DUS parameters. For example, 26 (19.7%) of 132 patients with abnormal TIPS velocities developed stenosis compared with 31 (20.5%) of 151 patients with normal velocities (P = 0.9). Based on these results, abnormal DUS findings observed on baseline TIPS ultrasound examination have low predictive value for future covered TIPS dysfunction and failure.
- TIPS stenosis
- baseline Doppler ultrasound
- transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt