Recent reports suggest that iron metabolism is altered after surgically induced portacaval shunting in patients with cirrhosis. These reports show that after such shunting extensive parenchymal deposition of stainable iron takes place.1,4-8 Other reports clearly show that such iron deposition occurs in the absence of surgically induced portacaval shunting in patients with cirrhosis3 and consequently the exact role played by the shunt remains unknown. This study was made to elucidate the role of the portacaval shunt in the metabolism of iron.
Seventeen healthy adult dogs underwent liver biopsy and construction of an end-to-side portacaval shunt.* All animals were anesthetized with pentobarbital sodium, 25 mg/kg of body weight. The portal vein was divided on the hepatic side of the entry of the cephalic gastroduodenal vein into the portal system so that the entire portal blood flow was diverted into the inferior vena cava. The dogs were followed for