OBJECTIVE--To assess the incidence and subsequent management of misplaced devices as a complication of therapeutic embolisation procedures. DESIGN--Retrospective review of case notes, cardiac catheterisation reports, and angiograms. SETTING--Tertiary referral centre for congenital heart disease. PATIENTS--205 consecutive children and adults undergoing therapeutic embolisation for congenital heart disease in the 10 years up to 1 April 1993. This group had 231 therapeutic embolisation procedures at 241 sites using coils, umbrella devices, or detachable balloons. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Incidences of misplacement and retrieval of the device; morbidity and mortality. RESULTS--The incidence of misplacement was 3% (10/332) of devices deployed and 4.3% (10/231) of procedures performed. Retrieval from distal pulmonary arteries was not attempted in two patients, but transcatheter retrieval of coils and umbrellas from systemic and pulmonary vessels, using snares or retrieval baskets, was successful in the remaining eight. There were no deaths or serious sequelae related to the procedure, but one patient required femoral arteriotomy for removal of an umbrella device retrieved only as far as the groin. In four of the five most recent cases, the misplaced device was retrieved and the therapeutic embolisation was completed at the same procedure. CONCLUSIONS--Misplacement of a device during therapeutic embolisation is a recognised complication that can be satisfactorily dealt with by transcatheter retrieval without recourse to surgery. For retrieval to be successful it is important to have a wide selection of retrieval equipment available and to be conversant with its use.
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