Empiric Transcatheter Embolization for Acute Arterial Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding: A Meta-Analysis

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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2021 Feb 10:1-14. doi: 10.2214/AJR.20.23151. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to conduct a meta-analysis to assess the safety and efficacy of empiric embolization compared with targeted embolization in the treatment of acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB). MATERIALS AND METHODS. We searched the PubMed and Cochrane Library databases for studies performed without language restrictions from January 2000 to November 2019. Only clinical studies with a sample size of five or more were included. Clinical success, rebleeding and complication rates, survival rates, bleeding cause, embolic materials, and vessels embolized were recorded. Empiric embolization and targeted embolization (i.e., embolization performed based on angiographic evidence of ongoing bleeding) were compared when possible. Meta-analysis was performed. RESULTS. Among 13 included studies (12 retrospective and 1 prospective), a total of 357 of 725 patients (49.2%) underwent empiric embolization for UGIB. The clinical success rate of empiric embolization was 74.7% (95% CI, 63.1-86.3%) among the 13 studies, and the survival rate was 80.9% (95% CI, 73.8-88.0%) for 10 studies. On the basis of comparative studies, no statistically significant difference was observed between empiric and targeted embolization in terms of rebleeding rate in 111 studies (36.5% vs 29.6%; odds ratio [OR], 1.13; 95% CI, 0.77-1.65; p = .53), mortality in eight studies (23.3% vs 18.0%; OR, 1.44; 95% CI, 0.89-2.33; p = .14), and need for surgery to control rebleeding in four studies (17.8% vs 13.4%; OR, 1.34; 95% CI, 0.58-3.07; p = .49). The pooled embolization-specific complications were 1.9% (empiric) and 2.4% (targeted). CONCLUSION. According to all available published evidence, empiric embolization assessed with endoscopic or preprocedural imaging findings (or both) appears to be as effective as targeted embolization in preventing rebleeding and mortality in patients with angiographically negative acute UGIB. Because of its favorable safety profile, empiric embolization should be considered for patients in this clinical scenario.

PMID:33566631 | DOI:10.2214/AJR.20.23151

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