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Quality of Life after Fibroid Embolization

Long-term Quality-of-Life Assessment Among Patients Undergoing Uterine Fibroid Embolization.

Authors: Popovic M, Berzaczy D, Puchner S, Zadina A, Lammer J, Bucek RA.
Journal: American J Roentgenology. 2009;193:267-71.
Study from: Department of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology, Medical University of Vienna

Problem: The first use of embolization to treat women with fibroids was performed in France in 1997, so the long-term effectiveness of the procedure is still being investigated. These authors wanted to see how patients they treated over the past 10 years have done with regards to their quality-of-life following UFE.

Study: All 53 women from an earlier publication of UFE were questioned about their quality-of-life and symptoms following the procedure. Thirty-nine women (75%) responded to the questionnaire.

Results: The average time since treatment was 7 years. Reduced bleeding was reported in 90% of the women, reduced pain in 79%, reduced bulk-related symptoms in 90%, reduced fatigue in 77%, reduced limitations of social life in 93%, and reduced depression in 79%. The general quality-of-life for these women improved significantly.

Six women (15.4%) had a hysterectomy at an average of 32 months after UFE. Thirty-two women (82%) were satisfied with UFE, and 30 patients (77%) said they would recommend uterine fibroid embolization to other women. The authors concluded that UFE seems to lead to significant long-term relief of fibroid-associated symptoms.

Dr. Parker’s Comments: Although this is a small number of women, and 14 of the original study patients did not respond to the survey, the long-term results are very reassuring. There was a high satisfaction rate reported by the women over the long follow-up period of 7 years. Only 15% of the women needed to have a hysterectomy after UFE (myomectomy following UFE was apparently not considered). One of the early questions about UFE was whether the results would last over time. I agree with the article that the answer is yes.

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