Multiple ischemic strokes after transcatheter arterial chemoembolization for hepatocellular carcinoma with a radiographic and pathological correlate

Victor Zach, Beth Rapaport, Ji Yeoun Yoo, Lara Goldfeder, Jesse Weinberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) is a widely used form of therapy in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. We report the first pathological data from an autopsy case of multiple cerebral emboli occurring during TACE. Methods: A Medline search for previous cases of cerebral embolism and TACE revealed 11 other cases. Findings: Multiple microscopic subacute infarcts were found in the cerebrum, midbrain, and cerebellum of our patient on autopsy, but no embolic material was seen. Embolic material was noted in dilated vessels throughout the fibrotic right diaphragm and in the upper lobe of the right lung. Combining the literature search with our patient, the mortality of cerebral embolism after TACE is 25% (n = 12). Intracardiac shunts were seen in 20% of the cases (n = 10). Hyperdense lesions were seen on head CT in 80% of the patients evaluated (n = 10). Chest imaging revealed infiltrate or consolidation in 60% of the cases (n = 5). Pulmonary emboli were reported in 100% of the cases (n = 8). Conclusions: Cerebral embolism after TACE is devastating. Brain pathology supports embolization of ethiodized oil rather than DC beads as the mechanism of cerebral injury. Further pathological studies are needed to better understand the pathophysiology of this condition. Lung pathology confirmed the presence of embolic material in the distal lung, suggestive of a hepatopulmonary shunt undetectable by current modalities. Evaluation for such shunts with emerging modalities such as TCD with emboli detection may be an area of future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-224
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2012

Keywords

  • Pathology
  • cerebrovascular accident
  • embolism
  • interventional radiology
  • lipiodol
  • mechanism
  • pathophysiology

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