Computed tomography and angiographic interventional features of ruptured hepatocellular carcinoma: pictorial essay.


Spontaneous rupture is an uncommon and potentially fatal complication of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), occurring in approximately 15% of patients with HCC in Asia and 3% in the United Kingdom.3 The prognosis for hemorrhage of HCC is poor, particularly in those patients with underlying cirrhosis and severe coagulopathy. Computed tomography (CT) rather than angiography is the first-line modality for the detection of rupture. CT can confirm the diagnosis of ruptured HCC and can also help in assessing other organs if the diagnosis is not clear prior to imaging. It allows for an assessment of the entire liver, including the portal vein, which aids in determining the feasibility of embolization and resection. Since the rate of bleeding must normally exceed 1 mL/min before it can be detected on angiography and the extravasation of contrast is present in less than 20% of cases, CT is a more helpful modality. The optimal CT protocol for this condition is triphasic: the precontrast phase allows for assessment of ethiodized oil (lipiodol) uptake, the arterial phase demonstrates enhancement of the mass, and the portal venous phase allows for assessment of the portal veins. Various treatment options have been proposed: transarterial catheter embolization (TACE), emergency liver resection, and delayed resection. Surgical treatment is difficult, if not impossible. In most cases, rupture is a result of diffuse intrahepatic spread of the tumour and underlying liver cirrhosis. Many authors have concluded that a multidisciplinary management that includes TACE as the primary procedure followed by a delayed resection is the preferred treatment. This pictorial essay reviews the radiologic features of spontaneously ruptured HCC on CT imaging and of treatment by angiography.

Cite this paper

@article{Kim2006ComputedTA, title={Computed tomography and angiographic interventional features of ruptured hepatocellular carcinoma: pictorial essay.}, author={Peter Kim and Jenny C Su and Andrzej K. Buczkowski and David F. Schaeffer and Stephen W C Chung and Charles H. Scudamore and Stephen G. F. Ho}, journal={Canadian Association of Radiologists journal = Journal l'Association canadienne des radiologistes}, year={2006}, volume={57 3}, pages={159-68} }