Thoracic Duct Embolization Using Transabdominal Antegrade and Transcervical Retrograde Accesses

Daniel Crawford, Carlos J. Guevara, Seung Kwon Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate the technical success and clinical outcomes of thoracic duct embolization (TDE) using transabdominal antegrade and transcervical retrograde accesses to treat patients with chyle leak. Materials and Methods: This study was a retrospective, nonblinded, single-institution chart review of all patients aged 18 years or older over a 6-year time frame who underwent lymphangiography with attempted TDE for iatrogenic or spontaneous chyle leaks using transabdominal antegrade and/or transcervical retrograde accesses. Results: Ninety-nine patients underwent 113 procedures. Eighty-five patients underwent 1 procedure, and 14 patients required 2 procedures. The technical success rate of TDE was 68% (72/106) with transabdominal antegrade access and 44% (15/34) with transcervical retrograde access. The overall technical success rate of TDE, including both the access methods, was 77% (87/113). The most common reasons for transabdominal access failure were small caliber of the cisterna chyli and thoracic duct (TD) occlusion. Five patients were lost to follow-up. Overall clinical success, defined as resolution of the chyle leak, was achieved in 83% (78/94) of the patients. There were 6 Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) level 1 adverse events (AEs), 5 SIR level 2 AEs, and 2 SIR level 3 AEs. Nontarget embolization occurred in 2 patients. Conclusions: Although transcervical retrograde TDE is a challenging procedure, with a lower technical success rate than transabdominal antegrade access, retrograde access improved the technical and clinical success rates of the treatment of chyle leaks in cases of thoracic duct occlusion, small cisterna chyli, and leaks located in the abdomen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1536-1541
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022


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