CT and MRI imaging and interpretation of hepatic arterioportal shunts
Hepatic arterioportal shunts (HAPS) occur due to organic or functional fistulization of blood flow between arterial hepatic vasculature and venous portal systems. It is a type of hemodynamic abnormality of the liver being observed increasingly with the use of temporal imaging modalities. HAPS occur due to other underlying hepatic abnormalities including the presence of an underlying tumor or malignancy. When a HAPS is present, the appearance of these abnormalities on imaging studies suggests an underlying abnormality, must be considered atypical even if asymptomatic, and warrants careful evaluation. Over time, and as a function of degree of fistulae, symptoms and potential life-threatening complications may arise from the HAPS. These systemic complications may include the development of portal hypertension, splenomegaly, as well as accelerated metastasis in patients with malignant tumors. This manuscript reviews common underlying conditions associated with HAPS and their radiologic interpretation.