Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt (TIPS)
Connecting the portal and hepatic vein to treat portal hypertension
The liver has many different functions, including acting as a filter that cleans the blood from the digestive organs.
Nutrient rich blood from the esophagus, stomach, spleen, and intestines flows into the liver through the portal vein.
When the liver is not functioning normally, this filtering process might be slowed down, causing a backup of blood and increased blood pressure in the portal vein.
This is called portal hypertension.
In patients with portal hypertension, blood is forced backwards from the liver.
This can lead to enlarged vessels, bleeding from vessels within the digestive system (varices), and accumulation of fluid in the chest (hydrothorax) or abdomen (ascites).
An interventional radiologist can alleviate portal hypertension with a minimally invasive procedure called a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS).
A connection (shunt) is made between the portal vein and the hepatic vein.
Making this connection allows blood to bypass the liver, and works to alleviate the portal hypertension.