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Dig Surg. 2009;26(1):37-42. doi: 10.1159/000193476. Epub 2009 Jan 21.

Embolization as treatment of choice for bleeding peptic ulcers in high-risk patients.

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Department of Surgery, Jeroen Bosch Hospital, Location Groot Ziekengasthuis, Nieuwstraat 34, 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands.



Peptic ulcers are the most common cause of acute upper gastrointestinal bleedings in the digestive tract. Most patients are poor surgical candidates. The aim was to describe the efficacy of embolization as the treatment of choice for bleeding peptic ulcers in high-risk patients when endoscopic treatment failed.


All patients who underwent a selective embolization of branches of the superior mesenteric artery and/or branches of the gastroduodenal artery for a bleeding peptic ulcer in the period January 2004 until December 2007 were included in this retrospective descriptive study. We examined the known risk factors for surgery and mortality in upper gastrointestinal bleeding due to peptic ulcers and describe the clinical course and outcome. Primary endpoints were the primary technical success and the clinical success rates. The secondary endpoint was the 30-day mortality.


16 patients were included. All patients had at least two risk factors for surgery and mortality. The clinical success rate was 81% (13/16). The first embolization failed in 3 patients, 1 was successful re-embolized and 2 were operated upon without re-embolization. The primary technical success rate, i.e. bleedings controlled by radiologic intervention, was 88% (14/16). 6 patients died due to non-embolization-related problems; 5 of them developed upper gastrointestinal bleeding during a stay in the hospital.


Embolization was a successful, minimal invasive alternative for surgical intervention in high-risk patients with upper gastrointestinal bleeding after failure of endoscopic treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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