Background. Liver transplantation in presence of diffuse portal vein thrombosis is possible by using caval blood as portal inflow, through cavo-portal transposition. However, clinical results are heterogeneous and experimental studies are needed, but similar hemodynamic conditions are difficult to obtain, especially in small animals. Herein we describe a new simple model of cavo-portal transposition in rat. Methods. Spontaneous porto-systemic shunts are induced by subcutaneous transposition of the spleen. The presence of porto-caval shunts through the spleen permits the interruption of the main portal vein without splanchnic hemodynamic consequences. Cavo-portal transposition is achieved by anastomosing the inferior vena cava and the main portal vein after division of the pancreatic-duodenal vein. Results. Selective angiography revealed total splanchnic blood diversion to the systemic venous circulation through the neoformed collaterals; macroscopical examination showed the absence of any signs of acute portal hypertension with normal liver and gut appearance. Conclusion. This model of cavoportal transposition is simple, effective and it simulates the clinical hemodynamic condition since the porto-systemic shunts induced by splenic subcutaneous transposition correspond to the physiological inframesocolic collaterals during chronic portal thrombosis in man.
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