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Complications of Percutaneous Ethanol Ablation

J Ultrasound Med 1998 Aug;17(8):531-533

Gelczer RK, Charboneau JW, Hussain S, Brown DL

Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.

Percutaneous ethanol injection therapy performed with sonographic visualization is a steadily growing therapeutic method that can be used in the ablation of solid and cystic masses in a variety of anatomic locations. Ethanol has been used for many years as an angiographically administered agent for vascular embolization of tumors such as hepatic and renal neoplasms. It was first used as a percutaneously injected agent for the sclerosis of renal cysts. Local infiltration or intravascular injection of ethanol leads to cell death by causing cell membrane lysis, protein denaturation, and vascular occlusion. Because of the initial success in the sclerosis of renal cysts, percutaneously injected ethanol is now used in the ablation of hepatic cysts and solid tumors, such as hepatocellular carcinomas. As a treatment agent, ethanol combines the benefits of being widely available, inexpensive, efficacious, and relatively easy to administer. Optimal results require that the radiologist have considerable experience in ultrasonographic scanning techniques and facility with percutaneous needle insertion under real-time visualization. Alternatively, the radiologist may choose CT as a method to visualize needle placement. Percutaneous ethanol injection therapy usually is an effective alternative to conventional surgical resection of liver lesions and has a low complication rate. We present two patients in whom hypotensive complications occurred during percutaneous ethanol injection therapy and discuss the likely causative mechanisms.

PMID: 9697961, UI: 98361426