Transcatheter arterial embolization in the management of hemobilia
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This retrospective analysis evaluated the clinical and radiologic results of transcatheter arterial embolization (TAE) in the treatment of significant hemobilia. The imaging findings, embolization technique, complications, and efficacy are described.
Thirty-two consecutive patients (21 male, 11 female, age range 8–61 years) who were referred to the radiology department for severe or recurrent hemobilia were treated by TAE. Causes of hemobilia were liver trauma (n = 19; iatrogenic in six and road traffic accident in 13), vasculitis (n = 6), vascular malformations (n = 2), and hepatobiliary tumors (n = 5). Iatrogenic liver trauma was secondary to cholecystectomy in those six patients. Four of five hepatobiliary tumors were inoperable malignant tumors and one was a giant cavernous hemangioma. Arterial embolization was done after placing appropriate catheters as close as possible to the bleeding site. Embolizing materials used were Gelfoam, polyvinyl alcohol particles or steel coils, alone or in combination. Postembolization angiography was performed in all cases to confirm adequacy of embolization. Follow-up color Doppler ultrasound and contrast-enhanced computed tomography was done in all patients.
Ultrasonic, computed tomographic, and angiographic appearances of significant hemobilia were assessed. Angiogram showed the cause of bleeding in all cases. Three patients with liver trauma due to accidents required repeat embolization. Eight patients required surgery due to failed embolization (continuous or repeat bleeding in four patients, involvement of the large extrahepatic portion of hepatic artery in two, and coexisting solid organ injuries in two). Severity of hemobilia did not correlate with grade of liver injury. All 13 patients with blunt hepatic trauma showed the cause of hemobilia in the right lobe. No patient with traumatic hemobilia showed an identifiable cause in the left lobe. There were no clinically significant side effects or complications associated with TAE except one gallbladder infarction, which was noted at surgery, and cholecystectomy was performed with excision of the hepatic artery aneurysm.
TAE is a safe and effective interventional radiologic procedure in the nonoperative management of patients who have significant hemobilia.
KeywordsHemobilia Liver, treatment Transcatheter arterial embolization, radiography
The authors are indebted to the clinicians of AIIMS and other hospitals whose contributions in the management of these patients have made this report possible.
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