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.
Setting: University hospital.
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 sequelae.
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.