Dunne PDJ, et al. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2020.
BACKGROUND: Early-transjugular intrahepatic porto-systemic shunt (TIPSS) has been recommended in international guidelines for high-risk patients with oesophageal variceal bleeding.
AIM: To validate the results of a previous randomised control trial which supports use of early-TIPSS.
METHODS: In a two-centre open-label parallel-group randomised control trial, patients with cirrhosis and acute variceal bleeding were recruited following haemostasis with vaso-active drugs and endoscopic band ligation. Participants were randomised to standard of care or early-TIPSS. The primary outcome was 1-year survival, secondary outcomes included early and late rebleeding, and complications of portal hypertension.
RESULTS: Fifty-eight patients (58 ± 11.12 years; 32.7% female) were randomised. After one year, seven patients died in the standard of care group and six in the early-TIPSS group, a 1-year survival of 75.9% vs 79.3% respectively (P = 0.79). Variceal rebleeding occurred in eight patients in the standard of care group compared with three patients in the early-TIPSS group (P = 0.09). Not all participants randomised to early-TIPSS received the intervention in time. For those receiving TIPSS per-protocol, variceal rebleeding rates were reduced (0% vs 27.6%, P = 0.04) but this had no effect on survival (76.9% vs 75.9%, P = 0.91). Serious adverse events were similar in both treatment groups, except that rates of hepatic encephalopathy were higher in patients receiving TIPSS (46.1% vs 20.7%, P < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Early-TIPSS reduced variceal rebleeding, increased encephalopathy but had no effect on survival in high-risk patients with oesophageal variceal bleeding. Early-TIPSS may not be feasible in many centres however, larger studies are needed. ClinicalTrials.gov reference: NCT02377141.