Effectiveness of transarterial embolisation for intractable postpartum haemorrhage in a disseminated intravascular coagulation state, despite emergency hysterectomy

Clin Radiol. 2023 Jan;78(1):55-60. doi: 10.1016/j.crad.2022.08.147. Epub 2022 Oct 26.


Purpose: We evaluated the effectiveness of transarterial embolization (TAE) for intractable postpartum hemorrhage in patients with disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) despite emergency hysterectomy.

Materials and methods: We retrospectively assessed TAE performed after emergency hysterectomy in 15 patients between July 2008 and January 2022. Underlying condition, technical success, clinical success, angiographic findings, laboratory findings, pregnancy-modified DIC score (The International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis), blood transfusion, ICU (Intensive care unit) admission day, hospital day, in-hospital mortality, and long-term sequelae were evaluated.

Results: All patients were diagnosed with DIC before embolization, with a 43.9 mean DIC score. All patients showed positive angiographic findings for active bleeding. Thirty-eight bleeding arteries were confirmed. The remnant uterine artery (n=25) was the most common focus of persistent bleeding, followed by the cervicovaginal artery (n=6), pudendal artery (n=3), obturator artery (n=2), vesical artery (n=1), and unspecified artery from the internal iliac artery (n=1). Technical and clinical success rates were 100% (15/15) and 93.3% (14/15), respectively. Mean nadir hemoglobin (Hb) level before embolization was 4.9 g/dL. All patients underwent massive transfusion before embolization (mean 33.2 packs of RBC). Postoperatively, a smaller amount of blood was transfused than before the procedure (mean 10.6 packs of RBC). Mean nadir Hb level after embolization was 8.2 g/dL. There was one instance each of in-hospital death, hypoxic brain damage, and ischemic acute kidney injury.

Conclusion: Despite hysterectomy for postpartum bleeding, there could be multiple residual or uncontrolled bleeding foci, especially in case of DIC, for which TAE could be an effective treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation* / complications
  • Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation* / diagnosis
  • Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation* / therapy
  • Embolization, Therapeutic* / methods
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage* / diagnostic imaging
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage* / therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Uterine Artery