Liver transplantation is the treatment of choice for end stage liver disease and not a treatment specifically for portal hypertension. A patient with complications of portal hypertension must be evaluated for the presence, etiology, and severity of liver disease to determine the most appropriate therapy. In a Child's Class A patient, who would not be a liver transplant candidate for two to three years, surgical shunts may be indicated. Shunt surgery, however, does not address the underlying liver disease. Liver transplantation is reserved for the patient with complications of cirrhosis (such as ascites, encephalopathy, malnutrition, intractable pruritus, and variceal hemorrhage) for whom no other form of therapy exists.
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