Massive Postpartum Hemorrhage Treated with Transcatheter Arterial Embolization: Technical Aspects and Long-Term Effects on Fertility and Menstrual Cycle

Eriksson, L.-G.; Mulic-Lutvica, A.; Jangland, L.; Nyman, R.
August 2007
Acta Radiologica;Aug2007, Vol. 48 Issue 6, p635
Academic Journal
Background: Transcatheter arterial embolization (TAE) is considered a safe, life-saving procedure in postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), but its long-term effect on menstruation and fertility is unclear. Purpose: To investigate technical aspects and the evaluation of complications, focused on menstrual cycle and fertility, using TAE in patients with PPH. Material and Methods: A retrospective study including 20 patients (seven with vaginal and 13 with cesarean delivery) with severe PPH treated with bilateral TAE of the uterine artery was carried out. All patients were asked to answer a questionnaire regarding their post-embolization history. In six patients, the radiation dose was measured. Results: All 20 cases underwent bilateral TAE of the uterine artery. Gelfoam was used as the embolic agent. However, after cesarean delivery in six patients who had clear contrast medium extravasation and/or pseudoaneurysm-like lesion, metallic coils had to be used in order to achieve hemostasis. No major short- or long-term complications were registered. Normal menses resumed in all patients. Four patients had a total of five full-term and two preterm pregnancies, and all delivered healthy infants by cesarean section with no recurrence of PPH. The mean radiation dose to the ovaries was 586 mGy (range 204-729 mGy). Conclusion: TAE in patients with PPH is safe and has no major short- or long-term side effects. A patient managed with TAE can expect return of normal menses and preservation of future fertility and successful pregnancies. PPH after cesarean section might need to be embolized with metallic coils in addition to Gelfoam in order to achieve secure hemostasis.


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