Transcatheter embolization using Gelfoam plugs or autologous clot is an alternative or adjunct to the conventional management of gastrointestinal hemorrhage. During a 12 month period we successfully treated 10 patients who had massive gastrointestinal hemorrhage with selective embolization; 6 patients had upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage and 4 had bleeding from the colon. Most of these patients were critically ill and were poor surgical candidates. Hemorrhage was controlled by selective catheterization of the bleeding vessel, followed by injection of Gelfoam pledgets. Since the procedure was accomplished with ease and prolonged hemostasis obtained, we recommend it for gastrointestinal hemorrhage, especially in patients who are poor surgical risks or are unresponsive to vasopressin infusion, or both. Operative intervention for the primary disease could subsequently be performed electively, if necessary, days or weeks after transcatheter embolization.
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