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Keywords:

  • B-RTO;
  • left inferior phrenic vein;
  • microballoon catheter;
  • pericardiophrenic vein

Abstract

Background and Aim

Balloon-occluded retrograde transvenous obliteration (B-RTO) is recognized as the standard therapy for patients with gastric fundal varices in Japan; however, the procedure is difficult when drainage veins other than the gastrorenal shunt developed. The efficacy and safety of B-RTO using a microballoon catheter for such patients were evaluated.

Methods

The subjects were 99 patients with gastric fundal varices who fulfilled the criteria for receiving endoscopic and/or interventional therapies. Among these, 95 patients underwent B-RTO. Of the 95 patients, 14 were treated with the use of microballoon catheters, including nine in whom the left inferior phrenic vein was found as a secondary drainage vein in addition to the gastrorenal shunt, and five in whom a gastrorenal shunt was absent. The B-RTO procedure performed using a microballoon catheter inserted through the left inferior phrenic vein in 13 patients, and through the pericardiophrenic vein in one patient.

Results

The B-RTO procedure using microballoon catheters was successful in 13 of the 14 patients (93%), while in the remaining one patient, multiple drainage veins were visualized on venography. Complete obliteration of the varices was achieved in all the 13 patients by injection of 5% ethanolamine oleate iopamidol at a median volume of 25 mL (range, 11 to 40 mL) through the catheters. None of the patients showed injuries of the drainage veins or any systemic complications.

Conclusions

B-RTO using a microballoon catheter is useful for the treatment of gastric fundal varices in which drainage veins other than the gastrorenal shunt developed.