Hepatic arterial embolization for the treatment of hepatic tumours has a high survival rate and could cure the patient of their disease.
This treatment is limited to the liver and is very selective. It is based on the peculiar occurrence that for hepatic tumours, blood only arrives through the hepatic artery, whilst for the liver itself, the same amount of blood, if not more, comes from the portal vein, not just the hepatic vein.
As a result, this treatment consists in injecting the hepatic artery, as selectively as possible, with some tiny plastic spheres that obstruct the small blood vessels. The result is that the tumour (or tumours) is left without a bloodstream to sustain them, whilst the portal vein is responsible for supplying the healthy liver with blood.
The treatment is usually repeated every six weeks, as many times as necessary, but this is normally three or four times.
Although the treatment doesn´t require an operating theatre or anaesthetic, it usually requires a prolonged hospitalisation period of 2-4 days, this is the necessary time for controlling any secondary effects that could arise: pain, nausea, fever.
Rarely, complications such as the infection of the tumour or hepatic insufficiency can occur. Hepatic embolization is a treatment that can be used when surgery or radiofrequency are not possible.
This treatment gives the patient a better survival rate, and in some cases, can cure them of their condition. This can only be used when the patient´s hepatic function is good.