Study objectives: Hemoptysis is a common complication in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). Current approaches to patients with hemoptysis include conservative medical therapy, bronchial artery embolization (BAE), and surgery. We investigated the effectiveness of early BAE on the outcome in patients with minor bleeding.
Design, patients, and interventions: We reviewed the clinical records from the Cystic Fibrosis Service for eight consecutive patients treated with medical therapy who had undergone early BAE and eight matched patients treated with conservative medical therapy alone.
Measurements: We assessed the mean number of bleeding episodes, pulmonary exacerbations, lung function (FEV1), Shwachman score, and Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) scores, the year before BAE and for the 3 ensuing years.
Results: During a 3-year follow-up, patients who underwent embolization had significantly fewer bleeding episodes (p < 0.001) and pulmonary exacerbations (p < 0.006). Lung function declined significantly in both groups (p < 0.001). The modified Shwachman score declined significantly during the follow-up only in patients who did not undergo embolization (p < 0.001). Patients treated by early embolization had significantly better NHP scores, indicating a better quality of life (p < 0.05). None of the patients who underwent BAE had adverse reactions.
Conclusions: Early BAE in patients with CF who have nonmassive hemoptysis is an effective, safe therapeutic approach offering better long-term control of recurrent bleeding and quality of life than medical therapy alone.