The results of 157 operations performed for portal hypertension and esophageal varices on 148 patients at the Cleveland Clinic in the 10 year period between 1970 and 1980 are reported. One hundred four shunt procedures and 53 ligation procedures were performed. The overall operative mortality rate of 13 percent did not differ significantly from the 11 percent rate reported from this institution in 1971. A comparatively higher rate of recurrent variceal hemorrhage and a lower rate of encephalopathy reflected our increased use of selective shunts and ligation procedures. There was no improvement in overall long-term survival, which was approximately 50 percent. The two most important factors in predicting the results of all operations for esophageal varices continue to be assessment of preoperative liver function and the timing of the operation. The best results were obtained in patients with good liver function who had an elective operation. Our data suggest that the portacaval shunt is associated with a higher incidence of late mortality, largely as a result of liver failure; therefore, our preference now is to perform a distal selective splenorenal shunt procedure whenever possible. If a selective shunt procedure cannot be performed, we advocate either a mesocaval shunt or a ligation procedure, depending on patient risk and the suitability of veins for a shunt procedure.