Intrahepatic portosystemic shunts, from prenatal diagnosis to postnatal outcome: A retrospective study

Or Steg Saban, Tal Weissbach, Reuven Achiron, Marina Pekar Zlotin, Yael Haberman, Adi Anis Heusler, Eran Kassif, Batia Weiss*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Congenital intrahepatic portosystemic shunts (IHPSS) are rare vascular malformations resulting in blood bypassing the liver to the systemic circulation. Previous studies included symptomatic patients diagnosed postnatally, but the outcome of IHPSS diagnosed prenatally is rarely reported. We present a cohort of children prenatally diagnosed with IHPSS and report their natural course and outcome. Methods and design: This was a retrospective study of all fetal cases diagnosed by ultrasound with IHPSS between 2006 and 2019 at a single tertiary centre which were prospectively followed up at the paediatric gastroenterology unit. The postnatal outcome was compared between patients with a single versus multiple intrahepatic shunts. Results: Twenty-six patients (70.3% boys) were included in the study, of them, eight (30.8%) patients had multiple intrahepatic shunts. The median gestational age at diagnosis was 29.5 weeks. Growth restriction affected 77% of the cohort. Postnatally, spontaneous shunt closure occurred in 96% of patients at a median age of 7.5 months (IQR 2.2-20 months). Failure to thrive (FTT) and mild developmental delay were observed in eight (30.8%) and seven (26.9%) patients, respectively. FTT was significantly more prevalent in patients with multiple shunts compared with patients with a single shunt (62.5% vs 16.7%, p=0.02); however, the rate of shunt closure and age at time of closure were similar between these groups. All patients survived with limited to no sequelae. Conclusions: IHPSS usually close spontaneously by 2 years of age. Children with prenatally detected IHPSS may develop FTT and mild developmental delay. Close surveillance at a paediatric gastroenterology unit may be beneficial.

Original languageEnglish
Article number325424
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Gastroenterology
  • Neonatology
  • Paediatrics


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