Hi, Karen! Rick has probably gone to bed, so I'll give a brief explanation of the TIPS procedure:
TIPS=transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt. It is done when a person is having extreme ascites which returns quickly after draining. (This is known as refractory ascites.) As Rick said, he was having to be drained twice a week, which is considered dangerous. This is due to portal hypertension. So an artificial outlet/shunt is made between the hepatic and portal veins. As the name implies, it is accessed through the jugular and threaded down to the liver. This relieves the portal hypertension, as well as the ascites.
Best of luck to you and Mick.
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Post Edited (hep93) : 3/7/2011 7:16:10 PM (GMT-7)