Bronchial artery embolization for malignant hemoptysis: a single institutional experience

J Thorac Dis. 2015 Aug;7(8):1406-13. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2072-1439.2015.07.39.


Objective: To assess the effectiveness of bronchial artery embolization (BAE) in patients with malignant hemoptysis.

Methods: An IRB-approved retrospective study at our academic institution was conducted on all patients treated by BAE for hemoptysis from lung malignancy. Outcome and safety measures were documented according to Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) practice guidelines.

Results: A total of 26 patients (13 male, 13 female) with lung malignancy underwent BAE for hemoptysis from 2003-2013. Histologic analysis revealed 80% (21/26) of cases were from primary lung malignancies, while the remaining 20% (4/26) represented metastatic disease. Sixty-five percent (17/26) of patients underwent bronchoscopy prior to BAE. Follow-up ranged from 2 to 1,909 days, with average of 155 days. Technical success was achieved in 77% of patients (20/26). Clinical success rate was 75% (15/20). Eighty-five percent of embolized patients (17/20) were treated with particles, 15% (3/20) with gelfoam, and 20% (4/20) with coils. Single-vessel embolization was performed in 70% (14/20), two-vessel in 20% (4/20), and multiple vessels in 10% (2/20). No complications were reported. Six-month all-cause mortality of treated cases was 55% (11/20) with an in-hospital mortality of 25% (5/20). Ten percent (2/20) had remote re-bleeding events beyond 6 months. Statistically significant predictors of mortality were intubation status, hemoglobin/hematocrit at presentation, and thrombocytopenia.

Conclusions: BAE is a safe and useful treatment for clinically significant hemoptysis in patients with primary or metastatic lung masses despite high overall mortality. Intubation status, low hemoglobin/hematocrit, and thrombocytopenia may represent clinical predictors of short term mortality following BAE.

Advances in knowledge: Most patients undergoing BAE for malignant hemoptysis achieve high clinical success despite suffering a high mortality from underlying disease.

Keywords: Bronchial artery embolization (BAE); hemoptysis; lung; malignancy.