TIPS Procedure - Complications

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What are the complications of TIPS?

There are two important complications of the TIPS procedure. The first is hepatic encephalopathy, a condition in which it is believed that toxic products from the intestines (for example, ammonia) that are normally removed from the blood by the liver remain in the blood and are delivered to the brain. (The TIPS allows the toxin-containing blood to bypass the liver.) The effects on the brain can vary from minor alterations in thinking to full coma.

A second complication is heart failure due to the sudden increase in the amount of blood returning to the heart through the shunt. The heart is unable to pump the returning blood fast enough, resulting in heart failure.

Finally, one complication may be caused by the shunt itself; problems such as infection and shunt occlusion, requiring placement of another shunt.

Return to TIPS (Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Hepatic Heather, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: April 01

My mom passed recently from nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) stage 4 cirrhosis of the liver. When the hepatologist offered TIPS as a way to keep my mom around longer, she decided it was not for her. She already had congestive heart failure and hepatic encephalopathy. Having this procedure would cause both problems to worsen. I have NASH stage 4 cirrhosis of the liver. I have congestive heart failure and suffer from hepatic encephalopathy just like my mom. My hepatologist has made the decision for me in that the TIPS procedure would be "too problematic to consider TIPS placement." It does not make sense to me as a caregiver at one time and a patient since 2008 that TIPS should even be considered as it appears to be a "last ditch effort" by the doctors to keep you alive (until you pass or you are on a liver transplant list).

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Comment from: NicoleK38, 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: October 14

My mom was given the TIPS procedure and died shortly after. They said that she was not eligible for a liver transplant. I do not get this being that there are drug addicts and alcoholics out there that I know who have received transplants. My mom was neither. We thought that TIPS would save her, but as soon as she had the procedure done, we watched her go on a downward spiral very quickly from that point on. This makes me terribly angry.

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