American Journal of Gastroenterology vol:104 issue:8 pages:2042-2046
OBJECTIVES: We sought to assess the safety, short- and long-term efficacy, and durability of transcatheter embolization for lower gastrointestinal hemorrhage (LGH) unresponsive to endoscopic therapy and to analyze the overall survival of the embolized patients. METHODS: Between January 1997 and January 2008, 122 patients were referred for angiographic evaluation to control major LGH. Overall, 43 patients (35.3%) presented with angiographic signs of contrast extravasation. In 39 patients (26 men, 13 women; mean age 67.7 years), a transcatheter embolization was performed to stop the bleeding. RESULTS: In all 39 patients, no contrast extravasation could be depicted on completion of angiography after embolization. Rebleeding occurred in eight patients (20%), in six of them within the first 30 days after embolization. Ischemic intestinal complications requiring surgery occurred in four patients (10%) within 24 h after embolization. Long-term follow-up depicted estimated survival rates of 70.6, 56.5, and 50.8% after 1, 3, and 5 years, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Transcatheter embolotherapy to treat lower gastrointestinal bleeding is very effective, with a relatively low rebleeding and ischemic complication rate, mostly occurring within the first month after the embolization. Long-term follow-up shows a very low late rebleeding rate, and half of the embolized patients survive more than 5 years. This study shows that the majority of patients presenting with lower gastrointestinal bleeding, unresponsive to endoscopic therapy, do not benefit from transcatheter embolization. In cases of angiography extravasation, a good immediate clinical outcome-defined as high immediate success with acceptable rebleeding-and ischemic complication rate may be obtained.