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  • Author or Editor: Jan Rothuizen x
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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine portal hemodynamic changes associated with surgical shunt ligation and establish ultrasonographic criteria for determining the optimal degree of shunt narrowing and predicting outcome.

Design—Case series.

Animals—17 dogs, each with a single congenital extrahepatic portosystemic shunt.

Procedure—Pre- and postligation flow velocities and flow directions were determined by Doppler ultrasonography intraoperatively in the shunt and in the portal vein cranial and caudal to the shunt origin. Outcome was evaluated 1 month after surgery by measuring blood ammonia concentration and performing abdominal ultrasonography.

Results—Hepatofugal flow was detected in 9 of 17 dogs before shunt attenuation in the portal segment that was between the shunt origin and the entering point of the gastroduodenal vein. If hepatofugal flow became hepatopetal after shunt ligation, hyperammonemia resolved. Hepatofugal portal flow was caused by blood that flowed from the gastroduodenal vein toward the shunt. Shunt attenuation converted hepatofugal flow to hepatopetal in the shunt in 12 of 17 dogs. Chronic portal hypertension developed or perioperative death occurred when the portal congestion index caudal to the shunt origin increased by > 3.6 times.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—After hepatopetal flow in the cranial portal vein and the shunt is established, further shunt narrowing is contraindicated. Increase of the portal congestion index caudal to the shunt > 3.5 times should be avoided. Poor outcome because of severe hypoplasia of the portal branches can be expected if the flow direction remains hepatofugal after shunt occlusion cranial to the shunt origin. ( J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;224:395–402)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine ultrasonographic abnormalities in dogs with hyperammonemia.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—90 client-owned dogs with hyperammonemia.

Procedure—Ultrasonography of the abdominal vessels and organs was performed in a systematic way. Dogs in which the ultrasonographic diagnosis was a congenital portosystemic shunt were included only if they underwent laparotomy or necropsy. Dogs in which the abdominal vasculature appeared normal and dogs in which the ultrasonographic diagnosis was acquired portosystemic shunts and portal hypertension were included only if liver biopsy specimens were submitted for histologic examination.

Results—Ultrasonography excluded portosystemic shunting in 11 dogs. Acquired portosystemic shunts were found in 17 dogs, of which 3 had arterioportal fistulae and 14 had other hepatic abnormalities. Congenital portosystemic shunts were found in 61 dogs, of which 19 had intrahepatic shunts and 42 had extrahepatic shunts. Intrahepatic shunts originated from the left portal branch in 14 dogs and the right portal branch in 5. Extrahepatic shunts originated from the splenic vein, the right gastric vein, or both and entered the caudal vena cava or the thorax. Ultrasonography revealed splenic-caval shunts in 24 dogs, right gastric-caval shunts in 9 dogs, splenic-azygos shunts in 8 dogs, and a right gastric-azygos shunt in 1 dog.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that ultrasonography is a reliable diagnostic method to noninvasively characterize the underlying disease in dogs with hyperammonemia. A dilated left testicular or ovarian vein was a reliable indicator of acquired portosystemic shunts. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;224:717–727)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association