Effectiveness of Transarterial Embolization in Treatment of Symptomatic Hepatic Hemangiomas: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Pooya Torkian, Jianjun Li, John A. Kaufman, Younes Jahangiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate the current evidence for the effectiveness of transarterial embolization (TAE) in treatment of symptomatic hepatic hemangiomas. Materials and Methods: A systematic literature review was conducted in PubMed, CINAHL and Scopus databases to identify studies of hepatic hemangiomas treated with transarterial embolization. Main outcome was defined as the mean difference between pre- and post-TAE hemangioma diameters. Treatment agents were categorized as Lipiodol based [bleomycin (L + BE), pingyangmycin (L + PYG) or ethanol (L + ethanol)] and non-Lipiodol based (polyvinyl-alcohol-only). Conventional random-effect meta-analysis technique was applied to analyze data. Results: Of 3080 initially inspected publications, 21 studies were included in the meta-analysis comprising of 1450 patients with total of 1871 hemangiomas (36.2% male, mean age: 46.3 ± 3.6 years). One hundred and twenty-six, 1666, 41 and 38 lesions were treated with L + BE, L + PYG, L + ethanol and PVA, respectively. Median follow-up time after embolization was 12 months. Lipiodol-based treatments showed significant effect in reducing hemangioma size after TAE compared to PVA (P < 0.001). Pooled diameter reduction (cm) (95% confidence interval) was − 4.37(− 5.32, − 3.42), − 4.70(− 5.70, − 3.71), − 0.93(− 2.02, 0.16) for overall TAE treatment, Lipiodol-based and non-Lipiodol-based treatments, respectively. Main complications included post-embolization syndrome and transient liver enzyme elevation (pooled incidence for Lipiodol-based and non-Lipiodol-based techniques: 36% and 33%; and 37% and 0, respectively). No fatal complications were reported. Symptomatic improvement was reported in 63.3%–100% of the cases with majority of studies (15/21) reporting improvement in all cases (pooled response rate: 98%). Conclusions: Transarterial embolization with bleomycin, pingyangmycin or ethanol in combination with Lipiodol is safe and associated with reduced size of hemangiomas resulting in symptoms alleviation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-91
Number of pages12
JournalCardiovascular and interventional radiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Bleomycin
  • Hepatic hemangioma
  • Lipiodol
  • Pingyangmycin
  • Transarterial embolization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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