BACKGROUND: Selective embolization is an effective and reputedly safe method of managing pregnancy-related bleeding. However, we report an ischemic uterine necrosis after arterial embolization.
CASE: The patient had heavy postpartum bleeding treated by embolization of the uterine arteries using polyvinyl alcohol particles (diameter 150–250 and 300–600 μm) and gelatin sponge pledgets. Her postoperative recovery was complicated by menorrhagia and pelvic pain. Because of the persistent menorrhagia and risk of infection, a hysterectomy was performed. Histopathology of the hysterectomy specimen revealed massive ischemic myometrial necrosis.
CONCLUSION: This complication is most likely related to the small size of the particles used. In the management of postpartum bleeding by arterial embolization, the material of choice is gelatin sponge pledgets, and the use of small particles should be avoided.