PLEASE NOTE: Since my original post (March 13/20) I would like to reiterate that this relatively new procedure is indeed helping people with the right physical criteria and it not always suitable for everyone. The results for those who have had the procedure are quite astounding though as you can read from the comments I have received so far. On my post called “My Portal Hypertension Journey” a friend (Greg) who I met since I started this blog, just posted his own personal success story after suffering for 40 years with the condition. I have reposted his comments at the end of this post as it was through Dr. Salem and his team that Greg’s condition has been reversed. October 27/20
With great optimism I share this news with you today. Dr. Riad Salem at Northwestern University in Chicago Illinois, and a team of over a dozen doctors have recently developed and tested a new non-surgical procedure for the treatment of portal vein thrombosis (PVT).
A few days ago Dr. Salem reached out to me via this blog with the results of the clinical study. His words below encapsulate this new technique.
“At Northwestern, we have pioneered a new, non-surgical approach for the treatment of portal vein thrombosis with or without cavernomatous transformation. It involves creating a new channel in the clotted portal vein, and placing a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) stent. We do this using ultrasound and X-ray guidance. Our first series of 61 patients has already been published with excellent success, and many of these patients have gone on to liver transplantation since they had cirrhosis of the liver. We are now performing this on adults without cirrhosis with cavernoma. Some of these patients have varices that have bled. This is a procedure you should be evaluated for if you are considering a Rex shunt or any other interventianal operation since this is a less evasive alternative”.
Riad Salem MD MBA
Professor of Radiology, Medicine and Surgery
Chief, Section of Vascular and Interventional Radiology
Vice-Chairman, Image-Guided Therapy
Department of Radiology
676 N St Clair, Suite 800
Chicago, IL USA 60611
If you have a story to share about your personal journey with portal hypertension or have had the procedure please feel free to post it.
Addendum comment posted October 26/20 as mentioned above:
“Thank you, Clint for providing a valuable conduit for information regarding PVT for patients and their families with PVT.
I have had PVT since birth, and as a consequence, have experienced 2 major bleeds from my esophageal varicies when I was in high school. As a lifesaving measure to decompress my esophageal varicies, I had a Splenorenal shunt created to prevent future bleeds. I was blessed to have been put under the care of two distinguished physicians and exemplary individuals: Gastroenterologist, Dr. William Baldus, and surgeon, Dr. Martin Adson, both doctors at the Mayo Clinic.
I began to experience the gradual onset of hepatic encephalopathy in my mid 30’s. As I have aged (now 57) I have had a growing list of health issues tied to PVT. Although I have not had any banding of my varicies done for few years now, I still have esophageal and gastric varicies.
I am writing this entry because I now feel a sense of hope for me and my family. I am grateful to Dr. Riad Salem, another distinguished physician and exemplary person who is an interventional radiologist at Northwestern University Medical Center in Chicago. Dr. Salem was able to place a stent in and through what was the cavernous transformation of my portal vein and and connect my atrophied liver with an entirely new supply of blood from the nexus of my Inferior vena cava and splenic vein. The initial transformation was very significant, and I continue to do well. It is my understanding that improvement in the symptoms of PVT and hepatic encephalopathy as my body adjusts to this welcome change.
Dr. Salem, his colleagues and staff at Northwestern University are among the best of the best. After surgeons attempted a REX shunt on me at another institution in 1979, albeit unsuccessfully because of the atrophied condition of my liver, I was resigned to the prospect that I would never experience the benefit of an open portal vein. Dr. Salem and his colleagues have helped me and many others realize the many benefits of an open portal vein”.
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward”. – Martin Luther King Jr.