Isolated hepatic perfusion (IHP) is a surgical technique that we use to treat nonresectable liver cancers, meaning liver cancers that cannot be removed with just surgery.
IHP is one way that we treat secondary liver cancers that have metastasized (spread) to the liver from some other primary site, such as colon cancer that has metastasized to the liver from the bowel.
What Can I Expect During Isolated Hepatic Perfusion?
In IHP, our surgeons infuse an extremely high concentration of chemotherapy into the liver by completely separating the hepatic (liver) circulatory system from the rest of the body’s circulatory system.
- To separate the liver from the rest of the circulatory system, and to prevent leaks, the surgeon clamps the veins and arteries leading to and from the liver shut.
- The surgeon then inserts a catheter tube in two places to take the blood out and perfuse the chemotherapy in.
- The catheter is secured in both places to create a circuit and is connected to a pump which heats the chemotherapy and continuously circulates it into and out of the liver for about one hour.
This procedure is considered an open surgery because it requires a large incision to expose the inner organs and tissues.
IHP is done in an operating room under general anesthesia to prevent any chemotherapy from getting out of the liver and into the circulatory system.
IHP has been found to have a response rate of approximately 60 percent.