Misperfusion of the liver during hepatic artery infusion chemotherapy: Value of preoperative angiography and postoperative pump scintigraphy

A. C. Civelek, J. V. Sitzmann, B. B. Chin, A. Venbrux, H. N. Wagner, Louise Barnett Grochow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. One purpose of this study was to determine if patients who have anatomic variations in their hepatic arteries are at increased risk for complications associated with the use of intrahepatic arterial infusion pumps. We also tried to determine the value of perfusion studies obtained with 99mTc-microspheres or 99mTc-macroaggregated albumin in detecting postoperative hepatic or visceral misperfusion and in predicting complications in patients with anatomic variants despite pre- or intraoperative attempts to correct the arterial abnormality. SUBJECTS AND METHODS. We prospectively compared findings on scintigrams obtained after delivering the radionuclide through intrahepatic arterial infusion pumps with anatomic variations in hepatic arteries seen on celiac and superior mesenteric hepatic arteriograms obtained before placement of the pump in 49 consecutive patients with colon carcinoma metastatic to the liver. RESULTS. Despite pre- or intraoperative attempts to correct arterial abnormalities to ensure optimal perfusion of the liver in 24 patients with hepatic arterial anomalies seen on preoperative arteriograms, only two patients had normal findings on postoperative perfusion studies performed with 99mTc- microspheres and/or 99mTc-macroaggregated albumin. Abnormalities included perfusion of extrahepatic organs, including the spleen in 12 patients, stomach in seven, bowel in four, and pancreas in three. Eight patients had no perfusion of the left lobe of the liver, and three had no perfusion of the right lobe. Two patients had minimal or no perfusion of both lobes. In 23 of 25 patients with no demonstrable variations in vascular anatomy on preoperative celiac and superior mesenteric arteriograms, findings on hepatic pump scintigrams were normal. Of the 24 patients with abnormal scintigraphic findings, 20 had subsequent clinical complications. However, only two of the 25 patients with normal scintigraphic findings had clinical complications. CONCLUSION. Our results indicate that patients with anatomic variations in the hepatic arterial system are at high risk for misperfusion during chemotherapy despite pre- or intraoperative efforts to alter the perfusion for chemotherapeutic agents delivered by intrahepatic arterial infusion pumps. Misperfusion can be detected by using pump scintigraphy, and therefore patients should be closely monitored with 99mTc-macroaggregated albumin perfusion studies to ensure successful delivery of the chemotherapeutic agents and to avoid serious clinical complications caused by inadvertent perfusion of other organs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)865-870
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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