Evaluation of transarterial embolization for lower gastrointestinal bleeding

Martin A. Luchtefeld, Anthony J. Senagore, Marcos Szomstein, Brian Fedeson, Jeffrey Van Erp, Stephen Rupp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION: Transcatheter arterial embolization has been used as a therapeutic maneuver for lower gastrointestinal bleeding. The availability of highly selective arteriography has made this procedure safer and warrants re- evaluation. METHODS: A retrospective chart review was done of all patients undergoing arteriography for presumed lower gastrointestinal bleeding at two acute-care community hospitals. Causes of bleeding, clinical outcome, and complications caused by transcatheter arterial embolization were recorded. RESULTS: There were 26 arteriographically identified bleeding sites in the colon and small bowel. The most frequent cause of bleeding was diverticulosis (12 patients), with the diagnosis being arteriovenous malformation in two, and one unknown colonic source. Transcatheter arterial embolization was attempted for 17 separate bleeding episodes in 16 patients. Transfusion requirements were an average (± standard deviation) of 7 ± 1.43 units per patient. Transcatheter arterial embolization was successful in stopping bleeding in 14 cases (82 percent). Two patients had surgery after transcatheter arterial embolization: one for colonic necrosis and one for persisting bleeding. There were two more unsuccessful procedures; one had a successful repeated transcatheter arterial embolization, and one stopped spontaneously. One patient rebled during the same hospitalization and was controlled with intra-arterial vasopressin. There were two deaths, both secondary to sepsis unrelated to the transcatheter arterial embolization or the gastrointestinal tract. CONCLUSIONS: Transcatheter arterial embolization is a relatively safe and successful procedure in patients with massive lower gastrointestinal hemorrhage. It is an excellent choice of therapy for patients that are poor candidates for surgery, but its role in other patients remains to be defined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)532-534
Number of pages3
JournalDiseases of the Colon and Rectum
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Arteriography
  • Arteriovenous malformation
  • Diverticulosis
  • Embolization
  • Gastrointestinal hemorrhage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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