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Arterial Embolization for Bleeding Pseudocysts Complicating Chronic Pancreatitis

Luc P. Gambiez, MD; Olivier J. Ernst, MD; Olivier A. Merlier, MD; Henri L. Porte, MD; Jean Pierre M. Chambon, MD; Pierre A. Quandalle, MD
Arch Surg. 1997;132(9):1016-1021. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1997.01430330082014.
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Objectives:  To evaluate the efficacy of arterial embolization (EMB) in the management of bleeding pancreatic pseudocysts or pseudoaneurysms and to assess the possible indication for secondary surgery.

Design:  Retrospective review with a mean follow-up of 60 months (range, 18-125 months).

Setting:  Tertiary care center, university hospital.

Patients:  The medical records of 14 patients who were referred to the hospital with bleeding pancreatic pseudocysts and/or pseudoaneurysms related to chronic pancreatitis, between 1983 and 1994, were reviewed. The clinical presentation was major bleeding in 10 patients (gastrointestinal or intraperitoneal) and chronic signs in 4.

Intervention:  Celiac and superior mesenteric angiography with EMB attempt in all patients.

Main Outcome Measures:  The immediate effect on bleeding and the long-term safety of arterial EMB.

Results:  Embolization failed in 3 patients and surgery was needed (1 patient died). Embolization was successful in 11 patients, but 2 complications occurred (duodenal necrosis and aortic thrombosis) (1 patient died). Among the 10 patients whose bleeding stopped, an intentional pancreatectomy was performed 4 times (all patients are alive). The 6 other patients did not undergo a further pancreatic operation due to unfavorable local or general condition. None of them had recurrent bleeding, 3 of them died later of extrapancreatic diseases. Overall, early mortality was 14%, with deaths occurring only in unsuccessful or complicated EMB cases.

Conclusions:  The immediate effectiveness of arterial EMB is undeniable but depends on the expertise of the radiologist. When EMB is successful, further surgery should be reserved for patients in good general condition who have other complications of chronic pancreatitis that are not amenable to minimally invasive techniques.Arch Surg. 1997;132:1016-1021


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