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Open Access Research article

Endovascular control of haemorrhagic urological emergencies: an observational study

Bhaskar K Somani1, Ghulam Nabi1*, Peter Thorpe2 and Sam McClinton1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Urology, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary Hospital, Grampian NHS Trust, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK

2 Department of Radiology, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary Hospital, Grampian NHS Trust, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK

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BMC Urology 2006, 6:27  doi:10.1186/1471-2490-6-27

Published: 28 September 2006



Transarterial embolisation (TAE) is an effective method in control of haemorrhage irrespective of the nature of urological emergency. As the technique and technology have evolved, it is now possible to perform highly selective embolisation. The aim of this study was to critically appraise feasibility and efficacy of therapeutic TAE in control of haemorrhagic urological emergencies using selective and non-selective embolisation. Specifically, we aimed to assess the impact of timing of embolisation on the requirement of blood transfusion and long-term morphological and functional follow-up of embolised organs.


This is a single institutional observational study carried out between March 1992 and March 2006. Records of all patients who underwent selective and non-selective angioembolisation to control bleeding in urological emergencies were reviewed. Data on success rate, periprocedural complications, timing of embolisation, requirement of blood transfusion and the long-term morphological and functional outcomes of embolised organs was recorded.


Fourteen patients underwent endovascular control of bleeding as a result of trauma, iatrogenic injury and spontaneous perinephric haemorrhage during a period of 14 years. All these patients would have required emergency open surgery without the option of embolisation procedure. The mean time between the first presentation and embolisation was 22 hours (range 30 minutes to 60 hours). Mean pre-embolisation transfusion requirement was 6.8 units (range 0–22 units). None of the patients with successful embolisation required post-procedural blood transfusion. Permanent haemostasis was achieved in all but one patient, who required emergency nephrectomy. There were no serious procedure related post-embolisation complications.


Endovascular control using transarterial angioembolisation is an effective method for managing haematuria or haemorrhage in urological emergencies. Wherever and whenever indicated, this option should be considered early in the management of these cases.