Radiologic imaging and intervention for gastrointestinal and hepatic complications of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

Shmuel Y. Mahgerefteh, Jacob Sosna, Naama Bogot, Michael Y. Shapira, Orit Pappo, Allan I. Bloom

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is an increasingly available treatment option for patients with various oncologic, hematologic, and immunologic diseases. Although HSCT can be curative for some diseases, complications associated with this treatment limit its success and applicability. Gastrointestinal graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and hepatic veno-occlusive disease are unique and deadly complications of HSCT. These diseases can mimic other HSCT complications, such as infection, hemorrhage, and hepatotoxicity with cholestasis, but GVHD and veno-occlusive disease require specific treatment. Early treatment improves the probability of treatment success. For these reasons, timely and accurate diagnosis is essential. Abdominal imaging and intervention play an important role in the early, minimally invasive diagnosis and treatment of GVHD and veno-occlusive disease. Imaging findings tend to be nonspecific, but common findings that may guide further management or establish a diagnosis in the clinical setting have been defined. In cases where the diagnosis is unclear and liver biopsy is required, image-guided transvenous liver biopsy may be a safer and more practical option than the transcutaneous approach. Imageguided interventions, including intraarterial steroid-injection therapy in severe, systemic steroid-refractory GVHD and transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt placement in veno-occlusive disease with portal hypertension, have shown some promise in small, uncontrolled series. Larger, controlled studies are needed to define the role of these invasive procedures in this patient population.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)660-671
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


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