• Systemic mastocytosis is characterized by an abnormal proliferation of tissue mast cells. Though rarely a surgical disease, it occasionally presents as variceal bleeding secondary to portal hypertension. Ultrastructural studies of the liver and spleen and portal pressure measurements support the hypothesis that a perisinusoidal intrahepatic fibrosis is responsible for the increased portal pressure. When variceal bleeding complicates systemic mastocytosis, shunt surgery is indicated, with the type of shunt dictated by both hematologic and hemodynamic issues. Satisfactory blockade of histamine release can be achieved preoperatively by disodium cromoglycate and/or histamine antagonists to obviate any systemic effects precipitated by shunting of mast cell—rich splenic blood into the systemic circulation.
(Arch Surg 1988;123:767-769)