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Coil-Assisted Retrograde Transvenous Obliteration (CARTO) for the Treatment of Portal Hypertensive Variceal Bleeding: Preliminary Results



To describe the technical feasibility, safety, and clinical outcomes of coil-assisted retrograde transvenous obliteration (CARTO) in treating portal hypertensive non-esophageal variceal hemorrhage.


From October 2012 to December 2013, 20 patients who received CARTO for the treatment of portal hypertensive non-esophageal variceal bleeding were retrospectively evaluated. All 20 patients had at least 6-month follow-up. All patients had detachable coils placed to occlude the efferent shunt and retrograde gelfoam embolization to achieve complete thrombosis/obliteration of varices. Technical success, clinical success, rebleeding, and complications were evaluated at follow-up.


A 100% technical success rate (defined as achieving complete occlusion of efferent shunt with complete thrombosis/obliteration of bleeding varices and/or stopping variceal bleeding) was demonstrated in all 20 patients. Clinical success rate (defined as no variceal rebleeding) was 100%. Follow-up computed tomography after CARTO demonstrated decrease in size with complete thrombosis and disappearance of the varices in all 20 patients. Thirteen out of the 20 had endoscopic confirmation of resolution of varices. Minor post-CARTO complications, including worsening of esophageal varices (not bleeding) and worsening of ascites/hydrothorax, were noted in 5 patients (25%). One patient passed away at 24 days after the CARTO due to systemic and portal venous thrombosis and multi-organ failure. Otherwise, no major complication was noted. No variceal rebleeding was noted in all 20 patients during mean follow-up of 384±154 days.


CARTO appears to be a technically feasible and safe alternative to traditional balloon-occluded retrograde transvenous obliteration or transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt, with excellent clinical outcomes in treating portal hypertensive non-esophageal variceal bleeding.

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