TIPS (transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt) is a procedure in which a metal tube (stent) is placed between the portal and hepatic veins of the liver to redirect blood flow around scar tissue and other obstructions in patients with cirrhosis and other illnesses. This procedure helps avoid portal hypertension, the increase in blood pressure caused by these obstructions. Over time, the shunt degrades, but, according to the researchers, these new specially coated stents could help combat that.
For the study, the researchers analyzed the findings of 93 patients who had undergone a successful TIPS procedure using either coated or non-coated stents. The researchers found that the coated stents were better able to keep the blood vessels open 30 days, three months and one year after the TIPS procedure. At 30 days, the non-coated stents had degraded to the point that 81% of the TIPS were open; 79% at three months and 54% at one year. Coated stents, however, were 90% at 30 days and three months and 87% at one year. In addition, the survival rates for severely ill patients were better for those treated using coated TIPS stents.
"Our results show that centers should use these coated stents in TIPS procedures to keep these shunts open with less interventions," said Erik Bos, a medical student who was one of the researchers on the study.
Bos will present the full results of the study on May 17 during the American Roentgen Ray Society Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA.