If you’ve been diagnosed with liver disease, you may be at risk for serious complications like gastric varices, or enlarged veins in the stomach that can rupture and cause significant bleeding. Transvenous obliteration is a minimally invasive procedure that can treat or prevent gastric varices and other conditions caused by liver disease. At Vascular & Interventional Partners, our doctors are highly trained and experienced in performing this procedure and use the most advanced imaging techniques to ensure the best possible outcome.
What is Transvenous Obliteration?
Transvenous obliteration is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat varicose veins in the liver and stomach, also known as varices. When blood flow to the liver becomes blocked by a blood clot or buildup of scar tissue, it can lead to portal hypertension or high blood pressure in the liver. One of the major risks of this condition is gastric variceal bleeding, which occurs when varices in the stomach rupture and bleed, creating a potentially life-threatening situation.
Transvenous obliteration is often used as a therapeutic adjunct or alternative to transjugular intrahepatic shunts (TIPS) to treat and manage these gastric varices.
What Does Transvenous Obliteration Treat?
Transvenous obliteration is primarily used to treat gastric varices. However, it can also be used for other conditions that involve abnormal blood vessels in the liver, such as hepatic encephalopathy and hepatic venous outflow obstruction (Budd-Chiari syndrome).
Your doctor may recommend transvenous obliteration if you have or are at risk of developing gastric or esophageal variceal bleeding and hepatic encephalopathy, as well as a gastrorenal shunt. Hepatic encephalopathy is a condition that affects brain function due to liver damage.
In the past, TIPS was the go-to treatment for unresponsive gastric varices, but recent studies suggest that transvenous obliteration may be a more effective and less invasive treatment option for some patients. While TIPS doesn't always eliminate gastric varices, transvenous obliteration can completely destroy them in most cases.
Transvenous obliteration doesn't require general anesthesia, incisions, or stitches, making it less invasive than surgical treatment options. Small catheters are used instead to address gastric bleeding caused by liver disease. Other benefits of this procedure include:
- Minimally invasive treatment option
- Effectively treats gastric varices
- May be used in addition to or instead of TIPS
- Preserves liver function and improves blood flow
- Increased blood flow can improve liver function in cases of cirrhosis
- Lower risk of complications compared to surgical procedures
Why Choose Vascular & Interventional Partners?
The doctors at Vascular & Interventional Partners are experts in treating gastric varices and other complications of liver disease. We specialize in minimally invasive, image-guided techniques that deliver effective results without extensive surgery. For years, we’ve been trusted by patients and providers in Arizona to provide the highest level of care possible for a variety of conditions, and we’ll do the same for you.
If you’re suffering from complications of liver disease like gastric varices, or are at risk of gastric varices rupturing and bleeding, our minimally invasive treatment options can provide relief from your symptoms. Contact or call us today at 480-435-9100 to learn more about how transvenous obliteration can help and schedule an appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions
How should I prepare for my procedure?
Our doctors will provide you with specific instructions on how to prepare for your transvenous obliteration procedure. This may include avoiding eating and drinking for a period of time before your appointment. You may also need to stop taking certain medications to reduce the risk of bleeding. Follow all of your doctor's instructions carefully to ensure the best possible treatment outcome and minimize the risk of complications.
What is the treatment process like?
Transvenous obliteration involves the injection of an embolic agent into the abnormal veins to stop or prevent gastric bleeding. The injection is done under X-ray guidance and uses a catheter that is inserted through a vein in the neck or groin. The embolic agent is delivered to the varices, causing them to shrink and eventually disappear. This procedure can be performed using local anesthesia at the incision site and doesn’t require a hospital stay.
A variation of this procedure is called balloon-occluded retrograde transvenous obliteration (BRTO), which uses a balloon-tipped catheter to block blood flow at the site of the varices. Then, an embolic agent is injected to destroy them. This technique is useful in treating gastric varices that are difficult to access with transvenous obliteration. BRTO is performed under sedation or general anesthesia and typically requires an overnight hospital stay.
How long is the recovery after transvenous obliteration?
Transvenous obliteration is an outpatient procedure and patients can typically go home a few hours after the procedure. However, you may experience some mild pain and discomfort in the treated area. You may also be advised to avoid strenuous activities for a few days, but most patients can resume their normal activities with little downtime.
What are the risks of transvenous obliteration?
While transvenous obliteration is a safe and effective procedure, there are some potential risks and complications to consider, such as bleeding, infection, blood clots, and stent migration. Our doctors will discuss these risks in more detail during your appointment and provide post-operative care instructions to ensure the best possible treatment outcome.