Pharmacological prophylaxis of hepatic encephalopathy after transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt: A randomized controlled study

Department of Clinical Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Roma, Latium, Italy
Journal of Hepatology (Impact Factor: 11.34). 05/2005; 42(5):674-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhep.2004.12.028
Source: PubMed


Hepatic encephalopathy is a frequent event after transjugular-intrahepatic-portosystemic-shunt (TIPS), especially during the first months. Aim of this study was to compare two different treatments (lactitol 60 g/day, rifaximin 1200 mg/day) with no-treatment in the prevention of post-TIPS hepatic encephalopathy.
Seventy-five consecutive cirrhotics submitted to TIPS were randomized to receive either one of the above treatments or no-treatment. The main end-point was the occurrence of an episode of overt hepatic encephalopathy during the first month post-TIPS. Before the procedure and weekly thereafter the patients were evaluated by examining their mental status, asterixis, ammonia and trail-making-test Part-A (TMT-A).
The three groups were comparable for age, sex, etiology, Child-Pugh-score, post-TIPS porto-systemic gradient, previous hepatic encephalopathy, basal values of ammonia and psychometric performance. Twenty-five patients developed hepatic encephalopathy (33%, CI 95%=22-45%). One-month incidence was similar in the three groups (P=0.97). Previous hepatic encephalopathy (Relative Hazard=3.79;1.27-11.31) and basal-TMT-A Z-score>1.5 (RH=3.55;1.24-10.2) were predictors of post-TIPS encephalopathy at multivariate analysis. A <5 mmHg porto-systemic gradient was also significantly related to the occurrence of encephalopathy.
Our data show that treatment with lactitol or rifaximin is not effective in the prophylaxis of hepatic encephalopathy during the first month after a TIPS.

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    • "Prevention of HE is difficult. Riggio et al. found no improvement when lactitol and rifaximin were used as HE prophylaxis [10]. Based on this trial, guidelines do not recommend using nonabsorbable disaccharides or antibiotics prophylactically for preventing post-TIPS HE. "
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose. The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence and predictors of hepatic encephalopathy (HE) after transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) and endoscopic therapy (ET) in the elective treatment of recurrent variceal hemorrhage. Methods. Seventy patients were treated with elective TIPS and fifty-six patients with ET. Median observation time was 46.28 months in the TIPS group and 42.31 months in the ET group. Results. 30 patients (42.8%) developed clinically evident portosystemic encephalopathy in TIPS group and 20 patients (35.6%) in ET group. The difference between the groups was not statistically significant (P = 0.542; χ (2) test). The incidence of new or worsening portosystemic encephalopathy was 24.3% in TIPS group and 10.7% in ET group. Multivariate analysis showed that ET treatment (P = 0.031), age of >65 years (P = 0.022), pre-existing HE (P = 0.045), and Child's class C (P = 0.051) values were independent predictors for the occurrence of HE. Conclusions. Procedure-related HE is a complication in a minority of patients treated with TIPS or ET. Patients with increased age, preexisting HE, and higher Child-Pugh score should be carefully observed after TIPS procedure because the risk of post-TIPS HE in these patients is higher.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Gastroenterology Research and Practice
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    • "Age, pre-TIPS encephalopathy, and the Pugh score are probably the most useful predictors [41–49]. Prophylaxis with lactulose is not useful [50]. The medical management is difficult and in many cases the only option is to reduce the diameter of the stent or preferably to occlude it [51]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) represents a major advance in the treatment of complications of portal hypertension. Technical improvements and increased experience over the past 24 years led to improved clinical results and a better definition of the indications for TIPS. Randomized clinical trials indicate that the TIPS procedure is not a first-line therapy for variceal bleeding, but can be used when medical treatment fails, both in the acute situation or to prevent variceal rebleeding. The role of TIPS to treat refractory ascites is probably more justified to improve the quality of life rather than to improve survival, except for patients with preserved liver function. It can be helpful for hepatic hydrothorax and can reverse hepatorenal syndrome in selected cases. It is a good treatment for Budd Chiari syndrome uncontrollable by medical treatment. Careful selection of patients is mandatory before TIPS, and clinical followup is essential to detect and treat complications that may result from TIPS stenosis (which can be prevented by using covered stents) and chronic encephalopathy (which may in severe cases justify reduction or occlusion of the shunt). A multidisciplinary approach, including the resources for liver transplantation, is always required to treat these patients.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2012
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    • "Bajaj and Riggio29 suggested that rifaximin may become first-line therapy in hepatic encephalopathy with the support of long-term and head-to-head studies. Only one study66 directly compared lactulose and rifaximin in preventing hepatic encephalopathy in patients who underwent transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt, and both therapies showed no efficacy. Similarly Bass et al37 used rifaximin in patients who had already failed on lactulose. "
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatic encephalopathy is a challenging complication in patients with advanced liver disease. It can be defined as a neuropsychiatric syndrome caused by portosystemic venous shunting, ranging from minimal to overt hepatic encephalopathy or coma. Its pathophysiology is still unclear, although increased levels of ammonia play a key role. Diagnosis of hepatic encephalopathy is currently based on specific tests evaluating the neuropsychiatric state of patients and their quality of life; the severity of hepatic encephalopathy is measured by the West Haven criteria. Treatment of hepatic encephalopathy consists of pharmacological and corrective measures, as well as nutritional interventions. Rifaximin received approval for the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy in 2010 because of its few side effects and pharmacological benefits. The aim of this work is to review the use and efficacy of rifaximin both in acute and long-term management of hepatic encephalopathy. Treatment of overt hepatic encephalopathy involves management of the acute episode as well as maintenance of remission in those patients who have previously experienced an episode, in order to improve their quality of life. The positive effect of rifaximin in reducing health care costs is also discussed.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · Hepatic Medicine: Evidence and Research
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