Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.
Your Location is set to Change My Location
Cone Health wants to help you get well and stay well. This section provides tools and information to achieve good health and maintain your well-being.
Learn what community resources are available to help you get well and stay well.
View health and wellness news you can use from Cone Health providers on
View Advanced Search OptionsView All Doctors
View All Locations
Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Cirrhosis: Surgical Shunts for Portal Hypertension
COVID-19 Info: Current Trends | Vaccine Scheduling | Visitor Guidelines | COVID-19 Testing | More
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please do not use Cone Health emergency departments or urgent care centers for Covid-19 testing to avoid long wait times and enable clinical teams to focus on critical care needs. Get options for testing here.
Shunt surgeries are designed to redirect the flow of blood or belly fluid through other areas of the body. Types of shunts used include:
These shunts may reduce fluid buildup in the belly (ascites). They divert the fluid into normal blood circulation.
These shunts may lower blood pressure in the vein that carries blood to the liver (portal vein). They do this by diverting the flow of blood from the portal vein to the large vein that returns blood to the heart (vena cava).
Shunts are rarely used because of the complications they may cause. They are done only in medical centers where the surgeon is experienced in doing the procedures.
Shunt surgery may be used for people who:
Complications of shunt surgery may include changes in mental function (encephalopathy), such as confusion, memory loss, and irritability. People who have large-diameter portacaval shunts have a 30% to 40% rate of encephalopathy.footnote 1
Shah VH, Kamath PS (2010). Portal hypertension and gastrointestinal bleeding. In M Feldman et al., eds., Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, 9th ed., vol. 2, pp. 1489–1516. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Current as of:
October 28, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Adam Husney MD - Family MedicineW. Thomas London MD - Hepatology
Current as of: October 28, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & W. Thomas London MD - Hepatology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Subscribe to our Wellness Matters e-newsletter, a monthly snapshot of the some of great wellness content from Cone Health providers.