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Minor adverse events include a small amount of bleeding or bruising at the access site or a small hematoma. A hematoma is a contained collection of clotted blood outside the artery. Access site hematomas are usually small and require no specific therapy. They occur in less than 3% of patients.
A hematoma is considered a major complication if any of the following occurs: a blood transfusion is required; surgical evacuation is necessary; readmission to the hospital; prolonged hospital stay. Major bleeding complications are rare and have not yet been reported in UFE patients.
Injury to the arterial wall can occur during introduction and/or manipulation of the catheter, which is a small plastic tube. Serious complications resulting in hospitalization, surgery or other invasive intervention, or hospital readmission are rare. There have been anecdotal reports of two cases, which required a minor procedure to correct the situation, which were successful in both cases.
Iodinated radiographic contrast can result in temporary or permanent renal failure. This typically occurs in patients who already have compromised renal function, such as patients who are diabetic. The small amount of contrast used during UFE is not considered to represent a risk for injury to the kidneys in otherwise healthy adults.
Some people also have an allergy to contrast agents. Usually this is mild and the most common symptoms are a rash or hives which quickly go away or, if not, will respond to Benadryl. Approximately 1 in 4000 will have a more serious reaction, such as severe asthma or swelling of the airway, and may require intravenous medication and a longer period of observation. An extreme (anaphylactic) reaction that results in death is very rare and occurs in between 1 in 100,000 and 1 in 140,000 contrast administrations.