Prophylactic and Emergent Arterial Catheterization for Selective Embolization in Obstetric Hemorrhage

Manuel Alvarez, Charles J. Lockwood, Alessandro Ghidini, Peter Dottino, Harold A. Mitty, Richard L. Berkowitz

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74 Scopus citations


Treatment of obstetric hemorrhage by the selective embolization of damaged pelvic vessels under fluoroscopy holds promise as an alternative to surgical intervention. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of selective embolization is often compromised by its use in emergent settings following the failure of primary operative approaches. Therefore we compared the efficacy of prophylactic versus emergent catheter placement for selective embolization in nine patients with or at risk for obstetric hemorrhage. In four patients with acute obstetric hemorrhage catheterization and embolization was carried out following the failure of initial medical and surgical approaches. In five patients determined to be at risk for intrapartum hemorrhage based on sonographic findings, catheters were inserted into the hypogastric vessels prior to elective cesarean delivery. Three of these five patients subsequently required selective embolization. In comparison to patients undergoing selective embolization following prophylactic catheter placement, patients in the emergent group all had a coagulopathy at the time of embolization, sustained substantially greater blood loss, and had an increased rate of postpartum complications. Finally, there was a significant reduction in total embolization time and therefore in radiation exposure in patients undergoing prophylactic catheter placement prior to selective embolization. These data support the conclusion that in patients determined to be at risk for intrapartum or postpartum hemorrhage the prophylactic placement of catheters allows for selective embolization in a hemodynamically intact patient with stable coagulation indices, theoretically reducing the risk of maternal morbidity and possibly mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-444
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Perinatology
StatePublished - Sep 1992


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