In this study, a team from France evaluated the complications of radiofrequency ablation of hepatic tumors.
They assessed 312 patients, who underwent 350 sessions of radiofrequency ablation for treatment of 582 liver tumors, over a 5-year period.
The team used the chi-square test for a group-to-group comparison of adverse events.
They found that 11% of adverse events and 1% of deaths were related to radiofrequency treatment.
|11% of adverse events were related to radiofrequency treatment.|
|American Journal of Roentgenology|
They also determined that portal vein thrombosis occurred more frequently in cirrhotic livers than in noncirrhotic livers after intraoperative radiofrequency ablation.
However, liver abscess was the most common complication. This occurred more frequently in patients bearing a bilioenteric anastomosis.
Overall, the team identified 5 pleural effusions, 5 skin burns, 4 hypoxemias, 3 pneumothoraces, 2 small subcapsular hematomas, 1 acute renal insufficiency, 1 hemoperitoneum, and 1 needle-tract seeding.
However, they also found that minor complications did not require specific treatment or a prolonged hospital stay.
Of the major complications identified by the physicians, 4% required less than 5 days of hospitalization for treatment or surveillance, and 2% required more than 5 days for treatment.
Dr Thierry de Baère's team concluded, "Radiofrequency ablation of liver tumors is a well-tolerated technique".
However, "Caution should be exercised when treating patients with a bilioenteric anastomosis".
"Radiofrequency ablation during vascular occlusion in cirrhotic livers should be avoided".