Gelfoam (gelatin foam) powder was used for embolization therapy of massive gastric bleeding from small vessels in 14 patients with severe underlying medical problems. Bleeding was controlled in 10 patients with lesions localized in areas supplied by the embolized left gastric artery. In four patients with concurrent lesions in other portions of the stomach, bleeding decreased only (3 patients) or did not respond to embolization (1 patient). Complications developed in 2 patients with compromised vascular supply of the stomach: superficial ischemic ulcers that healed, and a large ulcer that perforated and required surgery. Microscopic studies demonstrated Gelfoam powder penetration mostly into vessels 100 to 200 microns in diameter and only occasionally into smaller vessels 50 to 60 microns, with occlusion of approximately 10 to 15% of the vasculature. It is concluded that Gelfoam fragments are the primary embolic material to be used for occlusion of the left gastric artery. Use of Gelfoam powder should be limited to occasional patients who have only little chance of responding to Gelfoam fragment embolization. Potential candidates for Gelfoam powder embolization include patients with major coagulopathies and/or uremia who massively hemorrhage from small-vessel lesions localized in upper portions of the stomach, exhibit significant mucosal hypervascularity, and do not respond to selective vasopressin treatment. An uncompromised vascular supply of the stomach is a precondition of a safe left gastric artery embolization.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging