Over a 10-year period, 276 pulmonary arteriovenous malformations (PAVMs) were occluded with balloon embolotherapy in 76 patients, 67 (88%) of whom had hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia. Eleven patients (14%) were discovered by means of family screening with measurement of arterial blood gases and chest radiography. Epistaxis, dyspnea, hemoptysis, and hemothorax occurred in 79%, 71%, 13%, and 9% of patients, respectively. Clinical histories of strokes and transient ischemic attacks were present in 18% and 37% of patients, respectively. Computed tomographic scans of 59 patients showed stroke in 36%. Sixty-five percent of PAVMs were located in the lower lobes, which correlated with the finding of more pronounced hypoxemia in the upright position. After embolotherapy, symptomatic hypoxemia was corrected, and serial values have remained constant for 5 years. Complications were minimal, and no patient required surgery. Balloon embolotherapy is effective long-term therapy for PAVMs, and family screening should be pursued because of the possibility of a higher frequency of paradoxical embolization (stroke) than previously recognized.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging