A 50-year-old White man with noncirrhotic portal hypertension presented with bleeding from gastric varices. Bleeding was initially managed with band ligation and subsequent transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS). Over the next few months, the patient had recurrent episodes of anemia, jaundice, fever and polymicrobial bacteremia. Computed tomography (CT) of the abdomen and chest, upper and lower endoscopy, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), and echocardiography failed to explain the bacteremia and anemia. Follow-up CT scan and Doppler sonography 9 months after placement showed TIPS was occluded. Repeat ERCP showed a bile leak with free run-off of contrast from the left hepatic duct into a vascular structure. The patient's status was upgraded for liver transplantation with Regional Review Board agreement and subsequently received a liver transplant. Gross examination of the native liver demonstrated a fistula between the left bile duct and the middle hepatic vein. Pathologic evaluation confirmed focal necrosis of the left hepatic duct communicating with an occluded TIPS and nodular regenerative hyperplasia consistent with noncirrhotic portal hypertension. Infection is rarely reported in a totally occluded TIPS. Biliary fistulas in patent TIPS have been treated by endoluminal stent graft and endoscopic sphincterotomy with biliary stent placement. Liver transplantation may be the preferred treatment if TIPS becomes infected following its complete occlusion.
- Biliary-venous fistula
- Orthotopic liver transplant