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J Gastrointest Surg. 2010 Jan;14(1):112-8. doi: 10.1007/s11605-009-1069-2. Epub 2009 Oct 20.

Can superselective embolization be definitive for colonic diverticular hemorrhage? An institution's experience over 9 years.

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Department of General Surgery, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, 11 Jalan Tan Tock Seng, Singapore 308433, Singapore.



Superselective mesenteric embolization is effective in arresting colonic diverticular hemorrhage with minimal complications, but long-term results are lacking. We aimed to review the short- and long-term outcome of superselective embolization in arresting colonic diverticular hemorrhage in an Asian population.


A retrospective review of all patients who underwent superselective embolization for bleeding colonic diverticula from December 2000 to March 2009 was performed. These cases were drawn from a database of embolization for active gastrointestinal hemorrhage. Short-term outcomes (< or =30 days from procedure) identified included rebleeding, ischemia, or any further intervention for any of these two complications. Readmission for rebleeding and/or definitive surgery after 30 days (long-term outcome) was also documented.


Twenty-three patients, median age 65 years (range 41-79 years), formed the study group. Nineteen (82.6%) patients had active hemorrhage from right colonic diverticula while four (17.4%) had left-sided diverticular bleeding. Technical success was achieved in all 23 (100%) patients. SHORT-TERM OUTCOME: Five (21.7%) patients rebled within the same admission, and all underwent surgery. One patient perished from ensuing anastomotic dehiscence and septic shock and accounted for the only mortality (4.3%) in our series. There was no patient with ischemic complications. Another two (8.7%) patients underwent elective surgical resection on the advice of their surgeons in the absence of rebleeding. LONG-TERM OUTCOME: The median follow-up was 40 months (5-99 months). Of the remaining 16 (69.6%) patients for whom the procedure was definitive initially, four (25.0%) rebled within 2 years from the primary procedure, and elective surgery was performed in one of them. Another had repeat embolization, while the other two were successfully managed conservatively. These three patients refused surgical intervention. One patient was lost to follow-up, and the remaining 11 patients had no further complications.


Superselective embolization for active colonic diverticular hemorrhage is safe and effective and should be considered as a first line treatment if possible and available. The procedure could act as a bridge to a subsequent more definitive elective surgery or be definitive as seen in over 50% of our patients over a period of 40 months.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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