Endovascular embolization curtails GI hemorrhages

July 1, 2008

A group of surgeons and radiologists in the U.S. and Greece says transarterial embolization is effective to treat upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding. The catch? It's risky and recommended only for patients who are not good candidates for surgery.

A group of surgeons and radiologists in the U.S. and Greece says transarterial embolization is effective to treat upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding. The catch? It's risky and recommended only for patients who are not good candidates for surgery.

Dr. George Poultsides and colleagues at the University of Connecticut and the University of Athens retrospectively reviewed data from 70 procedures performed in 57 patients who underwent transarterial embolization between 1996 and 2006. The researchers found the technique was technically successful in 66 of the 70 procedures, but the effects of treatment failed and had to be repeated in 28 patients, eight of whom had to undergo additional endoscopic surgery. Six patients died. When embolization succeeded, the mortality rate was 9%, but when it failed that rate jumped to 36%. Results were published in the Archives of Surgery (2008;143[5]:457-461).