Diaphragmatic Weakness after Transcatheter Arterial Chemoembolization of Inferior Phrenic Artery for Treatment of Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Purpose: To prospectively assess the diaphragmatic anatomic and functional consequences of transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) of the inferior phrenic artery in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

Materials and Methods: Informed consent and institutional review board approval were obtained. Fifteen patients (13 men, two women; mean age, 52 years; age range, 22–61 years) who underwent TACE of the inferior phrenic artery for treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma were enrolled. The right inferior phrenic artery was embolized in 14 patients, and the left inferior phrenic artery was embolized in one patient. Chest radiography, fluoroscopy, computed tomography (CT), and pulmonary function tests were performed before and after TACE of the inferior phrenic artery. The post-TACE examinations were performed 2–3 months after TACE, and the results were compared with those of the pre-TACE examinations. A paired t test or the Wilcoxon signed rank test was used for statistical analyses.

Results: At chest radiography and fluoroscopy, six of 15 patients (40%) had both elevation and movement abnormality of the ipsilateral hemidiaphragm after TACE of the inferior phrenic artery. The mean (± standard deviation) diaphragmatic thickness on CT scans changed from 9.11 mm ± 3.02 to 7.67 mm ± 2.27 after TACE (P = .048). The mean vital capacity also was significantly decreased after TACE, from 91.87% ± 18.52 to 82.27% ± 16.94 of the predicted value (P = .006). The decreases in diaphragmatic thickness and vital capacity were most pronounced in the patients with abnormal findings at chest radiography and fluoroscopy.

Conclusion: After TACE of the inferior phrenic artery, a substantial portion of patients showed functional and anatomic evidence of diaphragmatic weakness.

© RSNA, 2006

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Article History

Published in print: 2006