Since 1978, the operation chosen for patients with variceal hemorrhage has been based on preoperative hemodynamic and clinical factors. One hundred sixteen consecutive patients were managed with the following operations: distal splenorenal shunt (75 patients), nonselective shunts (33 patients), and nonshunting operation (8 patients). Emergency surgery was required in 19 percent of patients. The selection criteria used resulted in the majority of high risk patients receiving nonselective shunts. This selective operative approach resulted in an overall operative mortality of 12 percent, a median survival of 3 years, and postoperative encephalopathy, ascites, and recurrent variceal hemorrhage in 20, 23, and 11 percent of patients, respectively. Operative mortality for the total group was closely related to Child's class. Whereas encephalopathy was most frequent after nonselective shunts, ascites was more common after the distal splenorenal shunt. Recurrent hemorrhage rarely occurred after a shunting procedure, but was a frequent complication of nonshunting operations. Neither the type of procedure selected nor the cause of liver disease influenced long-term survival.
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