Catheter-directed embolization is a well-established interventional radiology technique used to treat arterial hemorrhage in a variety of areas in the body. Although embolization has been used for over 20 years to treat trauma victims with massive bleeding and to control hemorrhage after childbirth instead of emergency hysterectomy, the investigation of glue as an embolic agent is new. Embolization is particularly useful because in massive bleeding often there is so much blood coming at the surgeon that it is impossible for the surgeon to see the bleeding site from the outside in order to repair it. Since the interventional technique uses X-rays to visualize the inside of the vessel, the hemorrhage does not interfere with visualization and the interventional radiologist can pinpoint the location of the injury for embolization. In this minimally invasive treatment, a tiny nick is made in the skin and, using imaging, the interventional radiologist guides a catheter through the artery then releases clotting agents – coils or particles-- into the blood vessels. This slows the blood flow and stops the hemorrhage from the inside out. Most often coils or small particles are used as the embolic agent. These are effective in most cases, but there are times when these forms of embolization may not be technically possible. In this study, embolization with the glue, NBCA, successfully stopped arterial bleeding even when previous coil or particle embolization had failed. NBCA was useful in a large number of anatomic locations alone or in combination with other embolic agents, particularly microcoils.
N-butyl cyanoacrylate (NBCA) is a permanent liquid embolic material and tissue adhesive that is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in cerebral arteriovenous malformations. This article summarizes the initial experience with NBCA glue embolization in 16 patients with acute arterial hemorrhage. NBCA embolization was successful in 75 percent of the patients and failed in 12.5 percent in this study at the Los Angeles County and University of Southern California Medical Center.
About Transcatheter Embolization, Choice of Agent, and Possible Role for NBCA
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