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January 1997

Endovascular Management of Hemorrhage in Patients With Head and Neck Cancer

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