Objectives: To report our experience with bronchial arteriography and bronchial artery embolization (BAE).
Materials and methods: A review of clinical experience to evaluate the demographics, clinical presentation, radiographic studies, bronchoscopy, and complications of bronchial arteriography and BAE at Mayo Medical Center, Rochester, MN, from 1981 to 2000.
Results: Fifty-four patients underwent bronchial arteriography. There were 34 men and 20 women with a mean age of 53 years. Hemoptysis was the most common indication in 53 patients (98%). Hemoptysis was caused by bronchiectasis (9 patients), pulmonary hypertension (9 patients), malignancy (7 patients), mycetoma (7 patients), and other identified causes (14 patients). The cause could not be identified in eight patients. Bronchoscopy was performed in 49 patients (92%), and the results identified the bleeding lobe in 32 patients, lateralized the side of the bleeding in 5 patients, and were not helpful in 12 patients. Bronchial arteriography revealed hypervascularity (45 patients), bronchial artery hypertrophy (17 patients), hypervascularity with shunting (15 patients), dense soft tissue staining (8 patients), vascular abnormalities (7 patients), and extravasation of contrast (1 patient). BAE was attempted in 54 patients, completed in 51 patients, and was unsuccessful in 3 patients. Overall, 72 embolization sessions were performed with a total of 131 arteries embolized, and the average number of arteries embolized per patient was 2.5. Control of hemoptysis was observed in 46 patients (85%) at 1 month. Rebleeding occurred within 30 days in five patients. Eight patients had recurrent hemoptysis that occurred 30 days after the procedure. The complications of embolization included subintimal dissection of a bronchial artery (two patients), bronchial arterial perforation by a guidewire (one patient), and the reflux of embolic material into the aorta without adverse sequelae (one patient).
Conclusions: BAE is a useful therapy to control both acute and chronic hemoptysis. BAE may help to avoid surgery in patients who are not good surgical candidates. Should hemoptysis recur in these patients, repeat embolization can be performed safely.