Denver shunt

Last revised by Yuranga Weerakkody on 14 Jan 2019

A Denver shunt, or peritoneovenous shunt, is a device used to shunt ascites to the superior vena cava in patients with refractory ascites.

The proximal end is located in the peritoneal cavity and the distal end in the superior vena cava, with a subcutaneous course in the anterior chest wall. It has a one-way valve and a compressible chamber, which must be compressed several times a day to ensure proper flow.


Contraindications to the procedure include 1​: 

  • end-stage renal failure requiring dialysis
  • sepsis
  • uncorrectable coagulopathy
  • morbid obesity
  • septation of the peritoneal cavity due to previous infection or surgery

Recognized complications include 1:

  • shunt occlusion
  • peritoneal infection
  • ascitic leak
  • bleeding
  • pulmonary edema
  • disseminated intravascular coagulation
  • pneumothorax
  • pneumoperitoneum

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