Transcatheter Arterial Embolization of Acute Arterial Bleeding in the Upper and Lower Gastrointestinal Tract with N-Butyl-2-Cyanoacrylate

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To assess the clinical utility and safety of transcatheter arterial embolization with N-butyl-2-cyanoacrylate (NBCA) for urgent control of acute arterial bleeding in the upper and lower gastrointestinaltract.

Materials and Methods:

Therapeutic NBCA embolization was performed in 37 patients (39 cases; mean age, 67.8 years) with acute upper (n = 16) or lower (n = 23) gastrointestinal tract bleeding after endoscopic management had failed. Transcatheter arterial embolization was performed using 1:1 to 1:5 mixtures of NBCA and iodized oil. The most common etiologies of bleeding were colonic diverticulosis (n = 13), malignancy (n = 11), and benign ulcer (n = 7). Coagulopathy was present in 11 patients, and 23 patients were hemodynamically unstable before NBCA embolization. Histologic examination for bowel ischemia was also performed in five patients who underwent excision of the lesion after NBCA embolization.


The technical success rate was 100%. Recurrent bleeding occurred in two patients. Complete hemostasis was achieved in all 11 patients with coagulopathy. Ulcers induced by transcatheter arterial embolization were noted in 6 of 20 patients who underwent endoscopic examination; the ulcers were successfully treated with conservative measures. Histologic examination revealed that despite inflammatory reactions in and around the vessels, no intestinal necrosis secondary to NBCA embolization was found. Hepatic abscess occurred in two cases, and ischemia of the lower limb occurred in one case; these complications were managed by percutaneous drainage and bypass surgery.


Transcatheter arterial embolization with NBCA is a good treatment option with a high rate of complete hemostasis and a low recurrent bleeding rate, even in patients with coagulopathy.

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