The objective of this study was to analyze a series of patients with Enterococcus faecium infection following transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunts (TIPS) in order to define the risk factors, outcome, and role of treatment including hepatic transplantation. This study is a case series from a tertiary referral center for liver transplantation. The medical records of four patients referred to one teaching hospital in San Francisco between 1990 and 1995 for evaluation or management of Enterococcal infection following TIPS were reviewed. A review of the microbiology records of all 314 patients who underwent TIPS at that institution and a MEDLINE search were performed to assess whether any other cases existed. The effect of therapy on survival was assessed, in particular, the repeated use of TIPS and prolonged courses of antibiotics. All four patients had thrombosis of their TIPS at the time of diagnosis of enterococcal bacteremia. All were treated with prolonged courses of intravenous antibiotics. One patient had echocardiographic evidence of subacute bacterial endocarditis with chronic aortic insufficiency. In all cases, liver transplantation was contraindicated in the acute setting because of uncontrolled endovascular infection. Two of four patients survived; these were the only two patients who had had a successful repeat TIPS. Enterococcal bacteremia is a rare complication following TIPS but carries a high mortality. It usually occurs in the setting of technically difficult TIPS with shunt thrombosis. Management should be focused on long term antibiotics and attempts at reestablishment of portal decompression with another TIPS. Liver transplantation should not be considered until the infection is cleared. Prophylaxis for Enterococcus species should be considered in technically difficult or unsuccessful TIPS.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Dr. Brown is supported by a grant from the Glaxo Institute for Digestive Health.