Study objectives: Bronchial artery embolization (BAE)
has been established as an effective technique in the emergency
treatment of life-threatening hemoptysis, but few data concerning
long-term results and complications of the procedure are available. The
aim of this study was to analyze retrospectively the experience of BAE
in our center with particular emphasis on medium-term and long-term
results and on morbidity.
Patients: Fifty-six patients underwent
bronchial arteriography from 1986 to 1996 in our center for the
management of life-threatening hemoptysis. Of them, BAE was performed
in 46 patients. Their mean age was 51 years (range, 19 to 89 years).
The most frequent etiologies of hemoptysis were active or inactive
tuberculosis, bronchiectasis, or idiopathic hemoptysis.
Results: BAE resulted in an immediate cessation of
hemoptysis in 43 of the initial 56 patients (77%). During the first
month after BAE, four patients who died from causes other than
hemoptysis or who were referred to surgery were excluded from follow-up
and in the 39 remaining patients, a complete cessation of hemoptysis
was observed in 32 patients. A remission was noted in 28 of the 29
patients followed up between 30 and 90 days after BAE. Long-term
control of bleeding was achieved in 25 of the initial 56 patients
(45%) followed up beyond 3 months after BAE (median follow-up of 13
months; range, 3 to 76 months). Overall, complications of BAE consisted
of two episodes of mediastinal hematoma and three episodes of
neurologic damage, two of which improved without permanent
Conclusion: We conclude that BAE may result
in long-term as well as immediate control of life-threatening
hemoptysis but that complications are not unusual.
Abbreviations: BAE = bronchial