January 1997

Endovascular Management of Hemorrhage in Patients With Head and Neck Cancer

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery (Drs Morrissey, Andersen, Everts, and Cohen) and the Dotter Institute for Interventional Radiology (Drs Nesbit and Barnwell), Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1997;123(1):15-19. doi:10.1001/archotol.1997.01900010017002

Objective:  To present selective endovascular embolization as a therapeutic alternative to surgical ligation in the management of hemorrhage in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

Design:  Retrospective chart review of patients with head and neck cancer and significant hemorrhage who were treated with selective endovascular embolization.

Setting:  A university medical center.

Patients:  A total of 12 patients, aged 26 to 72 years, with 13 episodes of hemorrhage were treated at Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, between November 1991 and January 1996.

Intervention:  All patients underwent angiography with selective endovascular embolization at the interventional radiology suite using a combination of endovascular balloons, platinum coils, and microparticles.

Outcome Measures:  All charts were reviewed for diagnosis, treatment, factors that may have contributed to hemorrhage, bleeding site, therapeutic measures, control of hemorrhage, postembolization course, complications, and number of hospital days.

Results:  The cause of the bleeding was tumor in 5 patients, pharyngocutaneous fistula in 4 patients, radiation necrosis in 3 patients, and postoperative complication in 1 patient. Bleeding arose from the common carotid artery in 4 patients, external carotid artery and its branches in 8 patients, and internal jugular vein in 1 patient. Hemorrhage was successfully controlled in all patients; a permanent left-sided hemiplegia and facial weakness developed in 1 patient. There were no recurrences of hemorrhage. All patients were discharged from the hospital.

Conclusion:  Angiography with selective embolization is a safe and effective alternative to surgical ligation for control of hemorrhage in patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1997;123:15-19