Objective: This study seeks to evaluate three-dimensional (3D) helical CT portography as a tool for examining patients with gastric fundic varices.
Subjects and methods: We compared 3D helical CT portography and conventional angiographic portography in 30 consecutive patients with gastric fundic varices. We assessed whether 3D helical CT portography is useful in selecting patients and in evaluating the results of balloon-occluded retrograde transvenous obliteration.
Results: Three-dimensional helical CT portography simultaneously depicted second or third branches of the intrahepatic portal vein and provided images of entire portosystemic collaterals. On 3D helical CT portography, gastric fundic varices were seen in 30 patients (100%), left gastric veins in 19 (63%), posterior gastric veins or short gastric veins in 28 (93%), gastrorenal shunts in 27 (90%), paraumbilical veins in three (10%), and inferior phrenic veins in two patients (7%). Findings of 3D helical CT portography and conventional angiographic portography were in close agreement. However, in four patients, posterior gastric veins or short gastric veins were not seen on conventional angiographic portography images of the spleen, but they were clearly revealed on 3D helical CT portography. Treatment was successful in all patients except one. Three-dimensional helical CT portography could easily evaluate therapeutic results.
Conclusion: Three-dimensional helical CT portography proved so effective that it can be considered a less invasive alternative than conventional angiographic portography in assessing portosystemic collaterals. CT portography is useful in selecting candidates from patients with gastric fundic varices for retrograde transvenous obliteration and also in evaluating therapeutic results.