Jaimy Villavicencio, MD1, Daniela Guerrero, MD1, Ismail Elkhattib, MBBCh2
1University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT; 2University of Connecticut, Farmington, CT
Introduction: Gastric varices are often associated with formation of spontaneous left-sided porto-systemic shunts, which arise to relieve portal hypertension or bypass obstruction. Gastro-renal shunts are the most common (80%), followed by gastro-caval shunts. Balloon Retrograde Transvenous Obliteration remains one of the primary measures to prevent re-bleeding from gastric varices. This procedure consists of inserting a balloon into the outflow vein of a shunt, allowing injection of a sclerosant for occlusion. It has the advantage of not diverting blood to bypass the liver, but it can worsen portal pressure and increase risk for ascites or esophageal variceal bleeding.
Case Description/Methods: 67-year-old male with past medical history of untreated Hepatitis C was admitted after syncope. He also had nausea, lightheadedness and hematemesis. In the ED, his blood pressure was stable with an Hb of 9.5 mg/dL. Ceftriaxone, an octreotide drip and PPI were promptly started. 3 units of blood were transfused. Urgent endoscopy did not reveal esophageal varices, but profuse active bleeding in the fundus was seen. Attempts to control the hemorrhage were ineffective due to lack of visibility. CT scan of the abdomen showed a cirrhotic liver with a 6 cm mass in the right lobe and a large gastric varix with a gastrorenal shunt. Importantly, there was no evidence of portal or splenic vein thrombosis. Left-sided TIPS was tried, but attempts to pass from left portal vein to left hepatic vein were futile due to challenging anatomy. After multiple transfusions the patient eventually underwent successful BRTO. He had no further bleeding and was ultimately diagnosed with HCC.
Discussion: BRTO is indicated primarily for prevention of recurrent gastric variceal bleeding. It is useful in patients with elevated MELD score, right-sided heart failure or hepatic encephalopathy, who are at high risk for TIPS. Patients with gastric variceal bleeding and concomitant HCC usually have more advanced cirrhosis and lower possibility of HCC treatment. This is due to bleeding-related hepatic decompensation and overall poorer liver functional reserve. Although BRTO has its disadvantages, its ability to divert blood flow towards the liver is thought to possibly preserve hepatic function. This might make patients with HCC and gastric varices good candidates for BRTO, allowing better possibility for treatment and increased survival. Further long-term studies are needed to evaluate prognosis and complications of BRTO in these patients.
Citation: Jaimy Villavicencio, MD; Daniela Guerrero, MD; Ismail Elkhattib, MBBCh. P0440 - BRTO FOR TREATMENT OF PERSISTENT GASTRIC VARICEAL BLEED IN A PATIENT WITH HCC. Program No. P0440. ACG 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting Abstracts. San Antonio, Texas: American College of Gastroenterology.