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Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic stent-shunt in the management of gastric and ectopic varices.

Uncertainty exists about the ideal therapy for gastric and ectopic varices owing to relatively few controlled studies. Endoscopic therapy with tissue adhesives and thrombin appear promising. Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic stent-shunt has a role in patients with refractory gastric variceal bleeding in the presence of a patent portal vein. The addition of coil embolization may be particularly useful for ectopic varices, as these can continue to bleed despite successful portal pressure reduction. The high efficacy of transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic stent-shunt has to be balanced against the potential for increased encephalopathy. Balloon occluded retrograde transvenous obliteration is a recent technique for patients with gastro-renal shunts and large gastric varices. Early results are promising, and balloon occluded retrograde transvenous obliteration may be valuable in patients who bleed at lower portal pressures, in the encephalopathic patient, or where the portal vein is not patent. Its use may be limited by availability or lack of technical expertise, and caution is required in patients with large oesophageal varices.

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