What is Bronchial Artery Embolization?
Bronchial artery embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that stops bleeding from damaged blood vessels in the lungs by restricting blood flow to the affected arteries. It is used to treat hemoptysis (coughing up blood or bloody mucus from the lungs or airway).
Indications for Bronchial Artery Embolization
Bronchial artery embolization may be indicated if you are losing a lot of blood as a result of hemoptysis which can cause a patient to go into shock or drown if the blood goes into the airways.
Preparation for Bronchial Artery Embolization
Specific instructions regarding preparation for bronchial artery embolization will be provided by your doctor. In general, this usually includes:
- Avoid drinking alcohol for 24 hours before and after the embolization
- Avoid eating or drinking after midnight the day before the procedure.
- Inform your doctor in case you are taking any medications.
Procedure for Bronchial Artery Embolization
The procedure usually takes an hour or two and is performed in an outpatient environment by an interventional radiologist rather than a surgeon. It entails the following steps:
- You will lie flat on your back on the X-ray table.
- To keep you comfortable during the treatment, your interventional radiologist will administer sedatives and pain medicine intravenously.
- Your physician then makes a small cut in the groin region to access a specific blood vessel and carefully inserts a catheter into the vessel.
- This is followed by the injection of contrast material into the vessel via the catheter to visualize the vessel on live X-ray imaging to examine the blood supply.
- Using imaging guidance such as fluoroscopy (X-ray video) or ultrasound, your physician guides the catheter into the arteries that are supplying the blood and injects a fluid with microscopic particles to clog up the arteries in order to prevent or reduce blood flow, causing it to shrink.
- The catheter is removed after the treatment is completed, and the groin site is covered with a bandage.
Post-Procedure Care after Bronchial Artery Embolization
Following are the general post-procedure instructions for bronchial artery embolization:
- You will be transferred to the recovery area where your nurse will check your vital signs and keep an eye on you for any side effects.
- You will be discharged home on the same day once you are stable, usually after 4 to 6 hours of observation.
- Within a few hours following the treatment, most people are able to move, eat, and drink.
- You may experience some pain, swelling, and discomfort in the groin area. Pain and anti-inflammatory medications and cold packs are recommended as needed for comfort.
- Antibiotics may be prescribed by your doctor to reduce the risk of infection.
- You should be able to resume all your normal activities within a few days; however, you may need to take off work for a few days to promote healing of the groin site and recover.
- A periodic follow-up appointment will be scheduled to monitor your progress
Risk factors of Bronchial Artery Embolization
Bronchial artery embolization is a safe procedure, but it does have some risk of complications which include:
- A burning sensation in the area of the body supplied by the clogged blood vessels
- Microparticles obstructing other arterial branches
- Damage to surrounding nerves and vessels