, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 521-525
Date: 07 Nov 2012

Warren shunt combined with partial splenectomy for children with extrahepatic portal hypertension, massive splenomegaly, and severe hypersplenism

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Abstract

Purpose

To establish the importance of shunt surgery combined with partial resection of the spleen for selected pediatric patients with extra-hepatic portal vein obstruction (EHPVO), enormous splenomegaly and severe hypersplenism. Severe hypersplenism is often refractory to treatment with endoscopic sclerotherapy or band ligation and shunt surgery; however, to our knowledge, this is the first such study to be published.

Methods

Distal splenorenal shunt with partial resection of the spleen was performed in 16 of 60 children treated for EHPVO in the Gastroenterology Department of our hospital. Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy had shown esophageal varices of varying grade in all patients and band ligation or endoscopic sclerotherapy had been done for children with a history of bleeding. The indications for surgery were pain and discomfort caused by a large spleen (5–15 cm below the costal margin) and symptomatic hypersplenism with leucopenia, thrombocytopenia, and anemia. Partial resection of the spleen was performed, starting with ligation of the branches and tributaries of the caudal two-thirds. When an ischemic line demarcated the splenic parenchyma, it was transected using electrocautery or LigaSure, leaving 20–30 % of splenic tissue. After the spleen resection, a Warren shunt was performed. Platelet and white blood cell counts and liver function tests were performed before and after the operation. Growth was assessed using SD scores (z scores) for height, weight, and body mass index at the time of surgery and 1 year later.

Results

Postoperative recovery was uneventful and the leukocyte and platelet counts normalized. The shunt patency rate was 100 %. Two cases of shunt stenosis were treated successfully with percutaneous angioplasty. There was no postoperative mortality. During the follow-up period, from 1 to 7 years, all 16 children were asymptomatic, with improved quality of life, growth, and nutrition. No episodes of variceal bleeding, sepsis or encephalopathy occurred.

Conclusion

Our results demonstrate that shunt surgery with partial resection of the spleen is effective and safe for pediatric patients with massive splenomegaly and severe hypersplenism secondary to EHPVO.

An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00595-012-0474-4.