Hong Kong Med J 2010;16:48-55 | Number 1, February 2010
Transcatheter embolisation of intrahepatic arteriovenous shunts in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma
Winnie SW Chan, WL Poon, Danny HY Cho, Sonny SH Chiu, SH Luk
Department of Radiology, Tuen Mun Hospital, Tuen Mun, New Territories, Hong Kong
This paper assesses the feasibility of transcatheter embolisation of arteriovenous shunts in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, and reviews available embolic agents, based on our experience and a literature review. From 2001 to 2007, 11 patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma and significant arteriovenous shunts underwent transcatheter embolisation of liver arteriovenous shunts. The age range was 36 to 80 years. A total of 17 embolisations were performed using different embolic agents including absolute ethanol (n=11), histoacryl (n=1), coils (n=2), and polyvinyl alcohol particles (n=1). We reviewed the degree of shunt occlusion and the clinical outcomes. There were 15 arteriovenous shunts. Nine (60%) were arterioportal venous shunts and six were arteriohepatic venous shunts. Two were classified as 'simple' types, according to our protocol, and 13 were 'complex' types. More than 80% occlusion was achieved in 80% of the shunts. In the simple shunts, coil embolisation achieved complete occlusion. In complex shunts with multiple feeders and draining veins, liquid or particulate agents were required to achieve satisfactory occlusion. Managing arteriovenous shunts with embolisation was feasible. The choice of embolic agent should be based on good understanding of the underlying mechanism of the shunts and their angio-architecture.
Key words: Arteriovenous fistula; Carcinoma, hepatocellular; Chemoembolization, therapeutic
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