The use of the transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) has emerged as an important nonoperative modality for variceal bleeding, intractable ascites, and for selected cases of hepatic venous obstruction. We believe that TIPS should be viewed as a 'bridge' to liver transplantation and should be carried out only in experienced centres. The adverse haemodynamic changes on the cardiopulmonary system after TIPS should be borne in mind. Prospective trials to evaluate the role of TIPS versus sclerotherapy in variceal bleeding will be watched with interest. There is, however, an urgent need to improve long-term results of TIPS as stent thrombosis and stenosis occur frequently. We advocate routine surveillance to detect these problems at an early stage.
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