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J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2001 Dec;12(12):1399-405.

Superselective arterial embolization for the treatment of lower gastrointestinal hemorrhage.

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Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit 48202, USA.



To evaluate the technical feasibility, efficacy of hemostasis, recurrent bleeding, and ischemia resulting from superselective embolization of acute lower gastrointestinal (GI) hemorrhage.


Fifty-two superselective mesenteric artery catheterization procedures were undertaken in 48 patients with angiographic evidence of lower GI bleeding. Embolization was performed only if the arterial recta leading to the bleed could be successfully catheterized (n = 39). The lesions treated were located in the colon (n = 33) and jejunum (n = 6). In 28 of 39 procedures, embolization was achieved by delivering polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) particles (150-500 microm) through a microcatheter. Microcoils were used as the sole embolic agent in four procedures and a combination of microcoils and PVA particles were used in another four. Gelfoam particles were used in three of our earliest procedures. Of the 35 patients who underwent embolization, 25 were evaluated for objective evidence of ischemia by endoscopy (n = 16) and/or histologic evaluation of the surgical specimen (n = 9); the remaining 10 patients were followed clinically.


Embolization was successful in 39 procedures involving 35 patients. Immediate hemostasis was achieved after embolization in all but two patients. Recurrent bleeding occurred in 12 other patients, eight patients underwent surgery, three were managed medically, and one underwent successful repeat embolization. Of the 25 patients evaluated for ischemia, mucosal ischemia was demonstrated in six (24%), but they remained asymptomatic and developed no sequelae as a result of ischemic changes on long-term follow-up. There was no incidence of clinically significant intestinal ischemia. Embolization alone was the definitive treatment in 44% patients (21 of 48). Reasons for unsuccessful superselective catheterization (27%) were small vessel spasm, cessation of bleeding, and vessel tortuosity.


Superselective embolization is a feasible, safe, and effective technique for treating acute lower GI hemorrhage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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