Adrenal crisis and death following transarterial chemoembolization of sarcoma liver metastases
Clin Imaging . 2021 Jan;69:79-81. doi: 10.1016/j.clinimag.2020.06.023. Epub 2020 Jun 19.
Thanh-Phuong Afiat, Caroline Johns, Johnna Smith, Bela Kis, Mihaela Druta
Adrenal crisis is a life-threatening complication of adrenal insufficiency which is triggered by physiological stressors such as injury, infection or a surgical procedure when the plasma concentration of adrenal corticosteroids is insufficient for physiological requirements. It is associated with a high mortality rate unless early diagnosis and treatment is initiated. We report a case of a patient with metastatic sarcoma and adrenal insufficiency who underwent right hepatic artery chemoembolization to control his intrahepatic metastases. He did not receive stress dose glucocorticoid and his glucocorticoid supplement medication was accidentally discontinued after embolization. He died due to an unrecognized adrenal crisis 2 days after embolization. This case suggests that embolization should be recognized as a stressor to prompt the need to continue chronic replacement of corticosteroids and to consider supplemental stress-dose corticosteroids. There is a growing population of patients on chronic corticosteroids for various conditions who may require tumor embolization. Therefore, it is important to consider adrenal crisis in post-embolization settings since the symptoms are non-specific and mortality can be avoided only if the diagnosis of adrenal crisis is considered and parenteral glucocorticoids administered.
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