Published online Jul 27, 2011. doi: 10.4240/wjgs.v3.i7.89
Revised: July 9, 2011
Accepted: July 15, 2011
Published online: July 27, 2011
Over the past two decades, transcatheter arterial embolization has become the first-line therapy for the management of upper gastrointestinal bleeding that is refractory to endoscopic hemostasis. Advances in catheter-based techniques and newer embolic agents, as well as recognition of the effectiveness of minimally invasive treatment options, have expanded the role of interventional radiology in the management of hemorrhage for a variety of indications, such as peptic ulcer bleeding, malignant disease, hemorrhagic Dieulafoy lesions and iatrogenic or trauma bleeding. Transcatheter interventions include the following: selective embolization of the feeding artery, sandwich coil occlusion of the gastroduodenal artery, blind or empiric embolization of the supposed bleeding vessel based on endoscopic findings and coil pseudoaneurysm or aneurysm embolization by three-dimensional sac packing with preservation of the parent artery. Transcatheter embolization is a fast, safe and effective, minimally invasive alternative to surgery when endoscopic treatment fails to control bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract. This article reviews the various transcatheter endovascular techniques and devices that are used in a variety of clinical scenarios for the management of hemorrhagic gastrointestinal emergencies.