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Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt or (TIPS or TIPPS for short) is a tube placed between the portal vein and the hepatic vein.

The portal vein carries blood away from the intestines and to the liver. The hepatic vein carries blood away from the liver and back to the heart.

Why is this shunt placed?

This shunt is used primarily in patients with cirrhosis and-or those that have a blockage of blood flow passing through the liver from the portal vein to the hepatic vein. This blockage results in increased pressure in the portal vein, which can a buildup of fluid in the abdomen called ascites, or bleeding into the esophagus or stomach as a result of varices.

Portal hypertension is caused by a blockage by scar tissue or pressure in the portal vein. As a result of the increase in pressure, much of the flow of blood bypasses the liver.

About the Procedure

During the procedure, an interventional radiologist passes a catheter-driven shunt down the jugular vein from the neck using X-ray guidance. The shunt then is inserted between the portal and hepatic veins within the liver.

The TIPS procedure creates an artificial path for the blood and reduces the pressure in the portal vein, preventing varices from forming.

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