Identifying predictors and evaluating the role of steroids in the prevention of post-embolization syndrome after transarterial chemoembolization and bland embolization

Authors Rohit Agrawal, Muhammad Majeed, Sheeba-Ba Aqeela, Yuchen Wang, Zohaib Haque, Yazan Abu Omar, Shristi Banskota Upadhyaya, Thomas Gast, Bashar M. Attar, Seema Gandhi.


Background Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) and bland embolization (TAE), performed for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), are often complicated by post-embolization syndrome (PES). There are limited data regarding the incidence of PES after TAE and the role of steroids in PES. We report the incidence of PES post TACE and TAE, identify predictors, and evaluate the role of steroids in PES.

Methods Demographic and clinical variables of patients who underwent embolization were collected and PES was identified. Risk factors for PES, TACE and TAE were derived by logistic regression. We compared patients who received dexamethasone to those who did not, regarding baseline characteristics, occurrence of PES, and hospital stay.

Results A total of 171 patients, average age 60.5 years, underwent the procedure, 77.8% were male, and 87.7% had cirrhosis. Of these 171, 107 underwent TACE and 64 TAE. Dexamethasone was given to 106 (61.9%) patients, of whom 85 had TACE and 21 TAE. One hundred twenty-four patients (72.5%) developed PES. PES occurred in more patients who underwent TACE, 80 (74.7%) vs. 44 (68.7%), and resulted in a longer hospital stay (1.47 vs. 1.12 days, P=0.034). Predictive factors for PES included female sex (odds ratio [OR] 2.76, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.04-7.34; P=0.041), and alcohol-related HCC (OR 3.14, 95%CI 1.42-6.95; P=0.005). Dexamethasone did not affect the length of hospital stay (1.43 vs. 1.29 days, P=0.422) or the rate of prolonged hospitalization (18.8% vs. 15.4%, P=0.561).

Conclusion There was no difference in the incidence of PES following TACE or TAE and the use of dexamethasone did not reduce the incidence of PES or the duration of hospital stay.

Keywords Hepatocellular carcinoma, transarterial chemoembolization, bland embolization, post-embolization syndrome, dexamethasone

Ann Gastroenterol 2021; 34 (2): 241-246

Original Articles