Objective: This study assessed the effect and safety of percutaneous transcatheter coil embolization of pulmonary arteriovenous malformations.
Materials and methods: In 58 (88%) of 66 patients, all malformations with feeding vessels greater than or equal to 3 mm in diameter were embolized with steel coils. Arterial oxygen saturation at rest and exercise, intrapulmonary right-to-left anatomic shunt fraction ((99m)Tc-macroaggregate injection), maximum exercise capacity (incremental work rate test), and pulmonary function were measured before and after embolization. Complications were analyzed.
Results: Three categories of patients were identified. Patients in group 1 (27%) had complete occlusion of all angiographically visible pulmonary arteriovenous malformations; patients in group 2 (61%) had complete occlusion of all malformations with feeding vessels greater than or equal to 3 mm in diameter, but with smaller lesions persisting; and patients in group 3 (12%) had incomplete embolization, with feeding vessels greater than or equal to 3 mm in diameter remaining. The mean right-to-left shunt after embolization was least in group 1 (7%), intermediate in group 2 (10%), and greatest in group 3 (19%). Arterial oxygen saturation and right-to-left shunt fraction returned to normal levels (>96% and <3.5%, respectively) in 33% of patients. A significant improvement occurred after embolization in carbon monoxide diffusing capacity per unit of alveolar volume and in exercise capacity in 16 and 10 patients, respectively. In 93 procedures, 12 complications (13%) occurred.
Conclusion: Coil embolization of pulmonary arteriovenous malformations is effective in reducing right-to-left anatomic shunt fraction and in improving arterial oxygenation. Coil embolization of pulmonary arteriovenous malformations is well tolerated and has a low complication rate.