Purpose: Complete renal embolization may be an alternative to surgical nephrectomy. The indications for renal embolization do not differ from those for surgical nephrectomy, but the less invasive nature of the technique is a major advantage. Few case reports are available in the pediatric age group. Our experience showed that complete renal embolization was feasible in pediatric patients with results comparable to those obtained in adults.
Materials and methods: Twelve pediatric patients underwent 14 renal embolizations. The indications for embolization were as follows: (1) severe hypertension in 7 patients with end-stage renal failure; in these cases, a unilateral native nephrectomy was recommended prior to renal transplantation; (2) end-stage hydronephrosis in 3 patients with moderate hypertension or recurrent urinary infection; (3) nephrotic syndrome in 1 patient; or (4) ablation of an irreversibly rejected renal allograft in 1 patient. The embolization was performed under epidural anesthesia in 10 patients and under general anesthesia in 2 patients, by means of a polyvinyl alcohol injection with hemostatic gelatin powder and placement of coils. Postembolization course was followed.
Results: The embolization was successful in all 12 patients. In 1 patient, the procedure had to be repeated as a small accessory artery had revascularized the upper pole. In another patient, the procedure was bilateral in 2 separate sessions. In 10 patients, severe flank pain required narcotic analgesia. Two patients had fever. None had hypertension peaks. Median hospital stay was 4 days. At mean follow-up of 16 months, the results were stable.
Conclusion: Renal embolization can avoid surgical nephrectomy also in pediatric patients. The advantages are less morbidity and shorter hospital stay. Our results in the short and medium term were equal to those of surgical removal. The procedure appeared to be safe and minimally invasive.