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Hemangiomas are frequent benign tumors of the liver. Symptoms (abdominal pain and fullness) are mostly seen in giant lesions. Rupture is the most severe complication, can occur spontaneously, with intraperitoneal bleeding, in 1-4 % of hemangiomas and has been described in about 30 cases in the international literature with a high mortality (about 60%). This complication is the principal indication for surgery.
Although spiral CAT scan and MR are actually the most efficacious imaging methods for study of liver hemangiomas, after Echography, emergency techniques that allows a simultaneous therapeutic approach – as is angiography – are preferable. Trans-arterial embolization (TAE) is in fact useful to stop bleeding and then to perform a safer surgery. A successful embolization can delay the surgical resection of the hemangioma for the time necessary to recover from the hemodynamic distress.
Aside from the success of angiographic approach, surgery remains mandatory, effective in stopping the bleeding and in preventing re-bleeding or other complications of TAE such as abscess, fever, etc..