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Effectiveness of Transarterial Embolization in Treatment of Symptomatic Hepatic Hemangiomas: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

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  • Embolisation (arterial)
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CardioVascular and Interventional Radiology Aims and scope Submit manuscript



To evaluate the current evidence for the effectiveness of transarterial embolization (TAE) in treatment of symptomatic hepatic hemangiomas.

Materials and Methods

A systematic literature review was conducted in PubMed, CINAHL and Scopus databases to identify studies of hepatic hemangiomas treated with transarterial embolization. Main outcome was defined as the mean difference between pre- and post-TAE hemangioma diameters. Treatment agents were categorized as Lipiodol based [bleomycin (L + BE), pingyangmycin (L + PYG) or ethanol (L + ethanol)] and non-Lipiodol based (polyvinyl-alcohol-only). Conventional random-effect meta-analysis technique was applied to analyze data.


Of 3080 initially inspected publications, 21 studies were included in the meta-analysis comprising of 1450 patients with total of 1871 hemangiomas (36.2% male, mean age: 46.3 ± 3.6 years). One hundred and twenty-six, 1666, 41 and 38 lesions were treated with L + BE, L + PYG, L + ethanol and PVA, respectively. Median follow-up time after embolization was 12 months. Lipiodol-based treatments showed significant effect in reducing hemangioma size after TAE compared to PVA (P < 0.001). Pooled diameter reduction (cm) (95% confidence interval) was − 4.37( − 5.32, − 3.42), − 4.70( − 5.70, − 3.71), − 0.93( − 2.02, 0.16) for overall TAE treatment, Lipiodol-based and non-Lipiodol-based treatments, respectively. Main complications included post-embolization syndrome and transient liver enzyme elevation (pooled incidence for Lipiodol-based and non-Lipiodol-based techniques: 36% and 33%; and 37% and 0, respectively). No fatal complications were reported. Symptomatic improvement was reported in 63.3%–100% of the cases with majority of studies (15/21) reporting improvement in all cases (pooled response rate: 98%).


Transarterial embolization with bleomycin, pingyangmycin or ethanol in combination with Lipiodol is safe and associated with reduced size of hemangiomas resulting in symptoms alleviation.

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We appreciate Dr. Mehdi Yaseri’s assistance with meta-analysis.


This study was not supported by any funding.

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Correspondence to Younes Jahangiri.

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Torkian, P., Li, J., Kaufman, J.A. et al. Effectiveness of Transarterial Embolization in Treatment of Symptomatic Hepatic Hemangiomas: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol 44, 80–91 (2021).

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