Venous thrombosis after radiofrequency ablation for hepatocellular carcinoma.

Department of Radiology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunwan University School of Medicine, Kangnam-ku, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
American Journal of Roentgenology (Impact Factor: 2.9). 12/2011; 197(6):1474-80. DOI: 10.2214/AJR.11.6495
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study was designed to evaluate the frequency, morphological patterns, sequential changes, and clinical significance of venous thrombosis after radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
A total of 1379 RFAs performed in 1046 patients with HCC (mean tumor size, 1.93 cm) were surveyed. We retrospectively reviewed all radiologic reports before and after RFA and selected 15 patients with newly developed procedure-related venous thrombosis. Procedure-related thrombosis was defined as being adjacent to the ablation zone and developing within 4 months after the procedure. We evaluated the frequency, morphological patterns, sequential changes, and clinical course of venous thrombosis (mean follow-up, 662.9 days). Four cases with local tumor progression were identified among the 15 patients, and their clinical implications were evaluated.
A total of 15 venous thromboses (1.08%; 12 portal and three hepatic veins) developed after RFA (range, 0-128 days; mean, 37 days). The thromboses were found in central (n = 10), peripheral (n = 4), and both central and peripheral (n = 1) locations in the ablation zones. Thrombosis was decreased in nine (69.2%), persisted in one (7.6%), and increased in three (23.0%) of 13 patients who underwent follow-up CT for more than 12 months. Local tumor progression was noted in four patients (26.6%); it abutted to venous thrombosis in two patients, separated from the venous thrombosis in one patient, and exhibited malignant thrombosis in one patient.
The development of portal or hepatic venous thromboses after RFA in patients with HCC is rare and usually is associated with favorable prognoses. Further investigation is warranted to elucidate whether venous thrombosis after RFA is related to local tumor progression around ablation zones.

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    ABSTRACT: Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) has become an important option in the therapy of primary and secondary hepatic tumors. Surgical resection is still the best treatment option, but only a few of these patients are candidates for surgery: multilobar disease, insufficient liver reserve that will lead to liver failure after resection, extra-hepatic disease, proximity to major bile ducts and vessels, and co-morbidities. RFA has a low mortality and morbidity rate and is considered to be safe. Thus, complications occur and vary widely in the literature. Complications are caused by thermal damage, direct needle injury, infection and the patient's co-morbidities. Tumor type, type of approach, number of lesions, tumor localization, underlying hepatic disease, the physician's experience, associated hepatic resection and lesion size have been described as factors significantly associated with complications. The physician in charge should promptly recognize high-risk patients more susceptible to complications, perform a close post procedure follow-up and manage them early and adequately if they occur. We aim to describe complications from RFA of hepatic tumors and their risk factors, as well as a few techniques to avoid them. This way, others can decrease their morbidity rates with better outcomes.
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