OBJECTIVE. A previous study suggested that temporary occlusion of a segment of the hepatic vein causes an increase in arterial flow and retrograde portal flow in the occluded segment. Such occlusions might improve the efficacy of arterial infusion therapy. Accordingly, we studied the change in blood flow visible on hepatic arteriograms when a segment of the hepatic vein is temporarily occluded in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. MATERIALS AND METHODS. The study group consisted of 24 patients with nodular- type hepatocellular carcinoma. Conventional hepatic arteriography was followed by hepatic arteriography performed using a balloon catheter to occlude the hepatic vein that was most closely associated with the tumor. Visualization of the tumor-draining veins, portal vein branches, the degree of tumor vascularity, and the density of the hepatogram on the hepatic arteriogram were retrospectively compared before and during venous occlusion. The veins were evaluated visually; an increase of tumor vascularity was defined as an increase in the number of countable tumor vessels during occlusion, and a dense hepatogram was considered to be a definite sinusoidgram induced by venous occlusion. RESULTS. Conventional hepatic arteriography showed the tumor-draining veins to be branches of the portal vein in only two of the 24 patients (8%). Hepatic arteriography during venous occlusion, however, showed the tumor-draining veins to be branches of the portal vein in four of the patients (17%). An increase in the degree of tumor vascularity with venous occlusion was observed only in a patient with an initial arteriohepatic vein shunt. Dense hepatogram and hepatofugal opacification of the portal vein branches in the occluded, tumor-bearing segment were obtained in 10 patients (42%). Eight of these did not have liver cirrhosis, whereas all of the remaining 14 patients did (p < .001). CONCLUSION. Our results suggest that occlusion of a segment of the hepatic vein may be useful during arterial infusion of hepatocellular carcinoma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging