Mesenteric Embolization for Lower Gastrointestinal Bleeding

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PURPOSE:Mesenteric embolization is an established treatment for lower gastrointestinal bleeding. The aim of this study was to determine the outcome of angiography and embolization and its influencing factors.METHODS:A prospective database of all mesenteric angiograms performed for lower gastrointestinal bleeding at a tertiary center between 1998 and 2008 was analyzed in combination with chart review.RESULTS:There were 107 angiograms performed during 83 episodes of lower gastrointestinal bleeding in 78 patients. Active bleeding was identified in 40 episodes (48%), and embolizations were performed in 37 (45%). One patient without active bleeding on angiogram also underwent embolization, making a total of 38 embolizations. Overall mortality was 7% with 4 deaths due to rebleeding and 2 deaths due to a medical comorbidity (respiratory failure, pneumonia). Short-term complications of angiography were false aneurysm (1 patient) and Enterobacter sepsis (1 patient). Long-term complications were groin lymphocele (1 patient) and late rebleed from collateralization (1 patient). In 43 episodes, angiography did not demonstrate active bleeding. Twelve (28%) of these patients continued to bleed, 9 of whom had successful surgery. Of the 38 patients who had embolizations, all had immediate cessation of bleeding. Nine patients (24%) later rebled; 5 of these patients required surgery and 3 had reembolizations. Of the 3 patients who underwent reembolization, 2 developed ischemic bowel and 1 stopped bleeding; surgery was required in 1 patient.CONCLUSIONS:Mesenteric angiography for lower gastrointestinal bleeding effectively identifies the site of bleeding in 48% of patients and allows embolization in 45%. Embolization achieves clinical success in 76% of patients but repeat embolization is associated with a high rate of complications.

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