Maintenance of long-term patency of transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic stent-shunts (TIPSS) has proved problematic. Various prognostic variables have been assessed as predictors, but the role of diabetes mellitus, which induces vascular endothelial cell dysfunction, has not been assessed.
We analysed the records of 248 patients who underwent TIPSS between July 1991 and July 1997, followed-up through to August 1998. Patients with at least one shunt assessment by portography and available blood glucose levels were eligible (177 patients; median follow-up, 15.0 months). Fourteen patients had a pre-procedural diagnosis of diabetes (one insulin dependent, seven oral hypoglycaemic treated and six diet controlled). In another 14 patients, diabetes was diagnosed at TIPSS insertion, giving a 28/177 (15.8%) prevalence of diabetes in our patients. Fifty-nine patients were excluded from the final analysis (including five diabetics), as they either died or had early shunt insufficiency (within 1 month of stent placement), leaving 118 patients (including 23 diabetics) to be included in the final analysis.
Mean age, sex distribution, median follow-up (months) and pre-shunt portal pressure gradient were comparable in the two groups (diabetics versus non-diabetics). Child–Pugh classes A and B were more common in the diabetic group (P< 0.01), and the mean inserted stent diameter was larger in the diabetic group (P< 0.05). The presence of diabetes was associated with a higher incidence of delayed shunt insufficiency (P = 0.02), but there was no evidence of an association between presence of diabetes and variceal haemorrhage post TIPSS. Kaplan–Meier analyses revealed earlier insufficiency in diabetic patients compared with those without diabetes (P = 0.04). Age, gender and presence of diabetes are included in the final logistic regression model. Individuals who have diabetes are more likely to experience shunt insufficiency independent of age and gender.
Diabetes mellitus is common in patients undergoing TIPSS and is associated independently with increased incidence of primary delayed shunt insufficiency.