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is a procedure used to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells. When it is used to treat a liver tumor, it is called hepatic artery chemoembolization.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You get a cold, the flu, or have a fever the day before, or the day of, your procedure.
- You have infected skin or a wound near the area where your procedure will be done.
- You have questions or concerns about your procedure.
Tests before your procedure:
You may need blood tests to check how well your blood clots. You may need urine tests to check how well your kidneys are working. Good kidney function and blood clotting are needed to prevent complications during the procedure. You may also need an angiogram. An angiogram is a type of x-ray used to examine blood flow through the arteries in your liver. These tests may be done several days before, or the day of, your procedure.
What to tell your healthcare provider before your procedure:
Tell your healthcare provider if you have allergies to any medicines such as contrast liquid, pain medicines, or anesthesia medicine. You may be given contrast liquid during the procedure to help the blood vessels in your liver show up better in pictures. Tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or think you are pregnant. X-rays used during the procedure may be harmful to your baby. Your healthcare provider may still do the procedure but decrease the amount of x-rays your baby is exposed to.
Quit smoking before your procedure:
Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause lung damage and increase your risk for new or returning cancer. Smoking may prevent healing and increase your risk for infection after your procedure. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
Eating and drinking before your procedure:
Your healthcare provider may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your procedure. He may tell you that you can have clear liquids up until 2 hours before your procedure. Clear liquids include juices without pulp, ginger-ale, water, and flavored ice.
Medicines before your procedure:
Your healthcare provider will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure. Talk to your healthcare provider several days before your procedure about any medicines that you take regularly:
- You may need to stop taking blood thinner, aspirin, or NSAID medicine several days before the procedure. This may prevent bleeding during and after your procedure.
- You may need to stop taking certain vitamins or herbal supplements several days before the procedure. Some vitamins and herbal supplements may increase your risk for bleeding and other complications.
- If you have diabetes, ask about your insulin. On the morning of your procedure, you may need to skip your dose or take a smaller dose. This will prevent your blood sugar level from going too low. Do not take your oral diabetic medicine on the morning of your procedure.
- Ask your healthcare provider if you should take your blood pressure or heart medicine before your procedure. Do not stop your medicine without talking to your healthcare provider.
- Take any medicine you were told to take with a sip of water on the morning of your procedure. When you arrive for your procedure, you may be given medicine to protect your kidneys from the chemotherapy. You may also be given medicine to prevent nausea, vomiting, and pain. An antibiotic may be given to decrease your risk for infection.
Arrange for someone to drive you home:
You may be able to go home after your procedure, or you may need to spend 1 to 2 nights in the hospital. Ask someone to drive you home and stay with you for 24 hours after your procedure. You may need help doing things in your home, or someone to drive you to errands. Another person should stay with you so he can call 911 if you have complications from your procedure. You cannot drive for 24 hours.
What to expect after your procedure:
- Healthcare providers may monitor you in the hospital and treat any side effects from the procedure. You may get postembolization syndrome, which includes symptoms such as a fever, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. It may also cause fatigue, dizziness, or a fast heartbeat. Healthcare providers will give you medicine to control or decrease these side effects. Chemoembolization may cause severe bleeding, and you may need a blood transfusion.
- When you can leave the hospital, you may be given medicine to prevent infection, nausea, or vomiting. You may also be given medicine to control pain. You may have a fever for up to 1 week after your procedure. You may also feel tired and lose your appetite. These symptoms are normal and should improve on their own after 1 week.
When you can return to your normal activities:
Ask your healthcare provider when you can return to your normal activities after your procedure. You will not be able to do strenuous activity or lift anything heavy for several days. You may not be able to work for at least 1 week.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.