Interventional Radiology - Original Article

Retrograde venous coil embolization prior to transarterial chemoembolization in hepatocellular carcinoma with arterio-hepatic venous shunts


  • Wenliang Zhu
  • Zhenkang Qiu
  • Huzheng Yan
  • Zhihui Zhong
  • Weiwei Jiang
  • Fujun Zhang
  • Fei Gao

Received Date: 25.11.2021 Accepted Date: 21.04.2022 Diagn Interv Radiol 2022;28(6):616-620


This study explored the clinical efficacy of transcatheter retrograde shunt occlusion with coils to prevent pulmonary oil or particle embolization prior to transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) in patients with artero-hepatic venous shunts (AHVS) secondary to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).


From July 2017 to January 2021, 6 patients with advanced, unresectable HCC were found to have an AHVS by hepatic arteriography at the time of attempted TACE. The AHVS was embolized retrogradely with metal coils through a transfemoral or transjugular venous approach. After venous embolization and confirmation of the absence of the AHVS, TACE was performed using an emulsion of iodized oil and doxorubicin or drug-eluting beads. Follow-up computed tomography (CT) was performed within 1 month after the first TACE to evaluate the results and complications.


Hepatic angiography after venous embolization showed that AHVS had utterly disappeared in all patients during the operation. The immediate technical success of the retrograde venous embolization was 100%. The AHVS had disappeared entirely during the follow-up period through triple-phase enhancement CT scanning. According to the modified response evaluation criteria in solid tumors, TACE in all 6 patients had a disease control response rate of 100% (6/6) with complete response in 2 patients and partial response in 4 patients. One patient died during the 6-month follow-up, and the other 5 were still alive. No complications related to pulmonary embolism occurred.


Retrograde venous coil embolization of AHVS via the draining hepatic vein appears to be a safe, feasible, and effective treatment to allow TACE treatment without pulmonary embolic events. This approach appears to provide better tumor control and effectively decreases the occurrence of pulmonary embolism.