Stopping Internal Bleeding with Minimally-Invasive Procedures
Your digestive tract includes any organ that food passes through from when it enters your mouth, until it leaves your body as stool.
Bleeding within this tract is internal and can be called a gastrointestinal (GI) bleed.
When symptoms of a GI bleed are present, the patient may have imaging done (CT or Nuclear Medicine Tagged Study) or a gastroenterologist may look inside the digestive tract with a small camera called a scope.
Once the site of bleeding is found, an interventional radiologist may be called to stop the bleeding with a minimally invasive image-guided procedure.
Embolization begins with an interventional radiologist inserting a catheter into the patient’s artery, and steering the catheter towards the bleeding site with real-time x-ray imaging.
Once the catheter is near the bleed, one of many different materials can be used to stop the bleed.
Sometimes, a GI bleed is actually being caused by a poorly functioning liver.
When blood cannot flow through the liver normally, it causes a backup, and the added pressure on vessels in the GI system can cause them to burst or leak.
An interventional radiologist can alleviate this problem with a procedure called a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS).
By fixing the problem in the liver, the added backflow of blood in the GI tract can be alleviated.
For a more detailed description of the TIPS procedure: (Click to TIPS page)