Pulmonary Glue Embolism: An unusual complication following endoscopic sclerotherapy for gastric varices

Philips G. Michael, Georgios Antoniades, Anca Staicu, Shahid Seedat


A pulmonary glue embolism is an unusual but potentially life-threatening complication following the treatment of variceal bleeding, especially in patients with large varices requiring large volumes of sclerosant. Other contributory factors include the rate of injection and ratio of the constituent components of the sclerosant (i.e. n-butylcyanoacrylate and lipiodol). This condition may be associated with a delayed onset of respiratory compromise. Therefore, a high degree of clinical suspicion is essential in patients with unexplained cardiorespiratory decline during or following endoscopic sclerotherapy. We report a 65-year-old man who was admitted to the Hull Royal Infirmary, Hull, UK, in 2017 with haematemesis and melaena. He subsequently developed acute respiratory distress syndrome secondary to a glue embolism following emergency sclerotherapy for bleeding gastric varices. The aetiology of the embolism was likely a combination of the large size of the gastric varices and the large volume of cyanoacrylate needed. After an endoscopy, the patient underwent transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunting twice to control the bleeding, after which he recovered satisfactorily.

Keywords: Gastric Varices; Pulmonary Embolism; Sclerotherapy; N-butyl-cyanoacrylate; Lipiodol; Case Report; United Kingdom.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18295/squmj.2018.18.02.020


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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

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