Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) is a commonly used approach for managing many complications of portal hypertension. It is an attractive option due to its relative ease of creation (> 90% success rate) and the availability at most hospitals of an interventional radiologist capable of performing the procedure. TIPS is the preferred approach to control acutely bleeding esophageal or gastric varices that cannot be controlled with medical management. It is also now preferred to surgical shunts for preventing rebleeding in patients who rebleed despite adequate medical management. TIPS is more effective than large-volume paracentesis in controlling refractory cirrhotic ascites, with possibly a slight survival benefit but also increased encephalopathy. TIPS should be used to control refractory ascites in patients who cannot be managed with large-volume paracentesis. The role of TIPS in the treatment of hepatorenal syndrome is unclear; currently only patients with type 2 hepatorenal syndrome should be considered candidates for TIPS.
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