UCSF is one of the few centers in the U.S. and world-wide using a specialized surgical shunt to treat portal hypertension. The surgical procedure utlilizes a Rex shunt, also known as a meso-portal shunt, to restore normal blood flow back to the liver in patients who have blockage of the portal vein outside of the liver. This blockage causes high blood pressure in the veins in the abdomen called portal hypertension.

Patients with this blockage may have enlargement of their spleen, bleeding from their intestinal tract or accumulation of fluid in their abdomen also known as ascites. In some cases, the bile duct can be partially blocked. These problems can occur both in childhood and in adulthood. The shunt acts to bypass the blockage by bringing blood high pressure area to the low pressure area in the liver.

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