OBJECTIVE To provide clinicians with a technology assessment of the safety and effectiveness of the use of a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) for reducing portal hypertension and its associated complications of esophageal varices and ascites. PARTICIPANTS A literature review and a Diagnostic and Therapeutic Technology Assessment (DATTA) survey questionnaire were mailed to 72 physicians with expertise in gastrointestinal or abdominal surgery or interventional radiology and a special interest in liver disease or esophageal varices. These panelists had been nominated to the DATTA panel by appropriate specialty societies and medical schools. A total of 54 panelists (75%) responded. EVIDENCE Assessment was based on the expert opinion of the panelists, as well as on published scientific literature (available as of January 2, 1995). Published studies were identified by a MEDLINE search using the terms transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt, TIPS, and transjugular and by review of the references cited in these primary sources. CONSENSUS PROCESS The respondents completed a DATTA survey questionnaire; the survey results were tabulated, analyzed, and interpreted by an American Medical Association staff physician. CONCLUSIONS The safety of TIPS was considered to be established in the acute control of bleeding from esophageal varices in patients who had failed sclerotherapy. The safety of TIPS was considered to be promising for long-term control of bleeding from esophageal varices. In patients with end-stage liver disease and esophageal varices who are liver transplant candidates, the use of TIPS was considered to be an established therapy. The effectiveness of TIPS was considered to be (1) established in the acute control of bleeding in patients who failed sclerotherapy; (2) promising for long-term control of bleeding from esophageal varices; and (3) established in patients with end-stage liver disease and esophageal varices who are candidates for liver transplants.