Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt at Sky Ridge Medical Center

A transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) is a small, tubular metal device commonly called a stent that is placed in veins in the middle of the liver to permit blood flow to bypass the liver.

In a TIPS procedure, interventional radiologists use image guidance to make a tunnel through the liver to connect the portal vein (the vein that carries blood from the digestive organs to the liver) to one of the hepatic veins (three veins that carry blood away from the liver back to the heart). A stent is then placed in this tunnel to keep the pathway open.

Patients who typically need a TIPS have portal hypertension, increased pressure in the portal vein. This pressure causes blood to flow backward from the liver into the veins of the spleen, stomach, lower esophagus, and intestines, causing enlarged vessels, bleeding and the accumulation of fluid in the chest or abdomen.

Common Uses of TIPS

A TIPS is used to treat the complications of portal hypertension, including:

  • Budd-Chiari syndrome, a blockage in one or more veins that carry blood from the liver back to the heart.
  • Portal gastropathy, an engorgement of the veins in the wall of the stomach, which can cause severe bleeding.
  • Severe ascites (the accumulation of fluid in the abdomen) and/or hydrothorax (in the chest).
  • Variceal bleeding, bleeding from any of the veins that normally drain the stomach, esophagus, or intestines into the liver.