Combined approach for embolization of otherwise unmanageable gastric varices

Authors Anna Maria Ierardi, Aldo Carnevale, Giulia Tosetti, Mario D'Amico, Melchiore Giganti, Vincenzo La Mura, Cristian Bonelli, Matteo Renzulli, Pietro Lampertico, Massimo Primignani, Gianpaolo Carrafiello.


Background This study aimed to determine the feasibility, safety and effectiveness of combined percutaneous transhepatic obliteration (PTO) and balloon-occluded retrograde transvenous obliteration (BRTO) therapy for the treatment of patients with high-risk bleeding gastric varices.

Methods Ten patients were retrospectively reviewed. All the patients presented gastric varices, according to the Sarin classification, at high risk of bleeding, and not otherwise manageable. Patients with portal vein thrombosis were excluded. All patients were treated with a combination of PTO and BRTO. In all cases the gastric varices were embolized with glue, combined with coils or not, with an occlusion balloon inflated into the shunt. In 7 cases, embolization was immediate; in the remaining 3 the balloon remained inflated for 4 h and in 2 of them embolization of the shunt was required. Technical success was defined as complete obliteration of the gastric varices observed during a contrast-enhanced computed tomography study and endoscopy within 1 month following treatment. Clinical success was defined as absence of bleeding of gastric varices during the follow-up period. Major and minor complications during the follow up were recorded.

Results Twelve sessions of combined PTO and BRTO procedures were performed in 10 patients; in 2 patients a new combined treatment was required during the follow up. Technical and clinical success was 100%. Neither major nor minor procedure-related complications were observed.

Conclusion Combined PTO and BRTO therapy is safe and effective for the treatment of gastric varices that cannot be managed otherwise.

Keywords Gastrointestinal hemorrhage, portal hypertension, gastric varices, balloon-occluded retrograde transvenous obliteration, percutaneous transhepatic obliteration

Ann Gastroenterol 2021; 34 (4): 510-515

Original Articles