Answer the following questions about transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunts (TIPS):
- a) What is a TIPS procedure and why is it used in patients with portal hypertension?
- b) What are 2 recognised indications for this procedure?
- c) Excluding mortality list 5 COMMON complications of TIPS procedure
- d) Describe one classification system used in assessing severity of chronic liver disease and outline its utility.
Answer and interpretation
a) What is a TIPS procedure and why is it used in patients with portal hypertension?
The hepatic vein is accessed via the internal jugular vein and IVC. A needle is then passed to connect the hepatic vein with the large portal vein near the centre of the liver, the needle tract dilated and a stent inserted to maintain the tract and form the shunt between the higher pressure portal vein and the lower pressure hepatic vein. This reduces portal hypertension.
b) What are 2 recognised indications for this procedure?
- Variceal bleeding that has failed endoscopic and pharmacological treatment.
- Refractory ascites
c) Excluding mortality list 5 COMMON complications of TIPS procedure
- occlusion of the stent
- capsular puncture
- stent migration
d) Describe one classification system used in assessing severity of chronic liver disease and outline its utility.
- Classified A,B or C by a composite of Total bilirubin, albumin, INR, ascites and hepatic encephalopathy. Originally used for prognostication for surgery – also used for prognostication in chronic liver disease and prediction of likelihood of complications of cirrhosis
- MELD score severity scoring system for assessing severity of chronic liver that uses the serum bilirubin, creatinine and INR. Initially developed to predict three month survival in patients post TIPS. Now used for prognosis of liver disease and prioritizing liver transplant recipients
Chris is an Intensivist and ECMO specialist at the Alfred ICU in Melbourne. He is also a Clinical Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University. He is a co-founder of the Australia and New Zealand Clinician Educator Network (ANZCEN) and is the Lead for the ANZCEN Clinician Educator Incubator programme. He is on the Board of Directors for the Intensive Care Foundation and is a First Part Examiner for the College of Intensive Care Medicine. He is an internationally recognised Clinician Educator with a passion for helping clinicians learn and for improving the clinical performance of individuals and collectives.
After finishing his medical degree at the University of Auckland, he continued post-graduate training in New Zealand as well as Australia’s Northern Territory, Perth and Melbourne. He has completed fellowship training in both intensive care medicine and emergency medicine, as well as post-graduate training in biochemistry, clinical toxicology, clinical epidemiology, and health professional education.
He is actively involved in in using translational simulation to improve patient care and the design of processes and systems at Alfred Health. He coordinates the Alfred ICU’s education and simulation programmes and runs the unit’s education website, INTENSIVE. He created the ‘Critically Ill Airway’ course and teaches on numerous courses around the world. He is one of the founders of the FOAM movement (Free Open-Access Medical education) and is co-creator of litfl.com, the RAGE podcast, the Resuscitology course, and the SMACC conference.
His one great achievement is being the father of three amazing children.
On Twitter, he is @precordialthump.