Doppler ultrasonography was used to evaluate the portal vein in 14 dogs before, immediately after and four weeks after a partial ligation of a congenital extrahepatic portocaval shunt. By four weeks after the operation, the hepatofugal or zero flow in the portal vein segment cranial to the shunt origin had become a hepatopetal flow in 13 of the dogs, which became clinically healthy. The other dog continued to have a hepatofugal flow in the portal vein cranial to the origin of the shunt and continued to show clinical signs of hepatic encephalopathy. The shunt remained functional in six of the dogs, and three of them developed portosystemic collaterals in addition. In the other eight dogs the patent shunt was non-functional, because a hepatopetal flow was detected in the shunt adjacent to the portal vein. This flow was the result of the splenic vein entering the shunt, and the splenic blood dividing; some flowed via the shunt towards the portal vein, preventing the portal blood from shunting, and the rest flowed via the attenuated shunt segment to the caudal vena cava. Shunting of the splenic venous blood was clinically insignificant.
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