Uterine artery embolization for symptomatic uterine fibroids.

Janesh Gupta, A Sinha, MA Lumsden, M Hickey

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    33 Citations (Scopus)


    BACKGROUND Uterine fibroids cause heavy prolonged bleeding, pain, pressure symptoms and subfertility. The traditional method of treatment has been surgery as medical therapies have not proven effective. Uterine artery embolization (UAE) has been reported to be an effective and safe alternative to treat fibroids in women not desiring future fertility. There is a significant body of evidence based on case controlled studies and case reports. This is an update of the review previously published in 2006. OBJECTIVES To review the benefits and risks of uterine artery embolization (UAE) versus other medical or surgical interventions for symptomatic uterine fibroids. SEARCH METHODS We searched the Cochrane Menstrual Disorders & Subfertility Group Trials register (searched November 2011), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) in The Cochrane Library, 4th Quarter 2011), MEDLINE (1950 to November 2011) and EMBASE (January 1980 to November 2011). We also contacted authors of eligible RCTs for unpublished data. SELECTION CRITERIA Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of UAE versus any medical or surgical therapy for symptomatic uterine fibroids. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS Two of the authors (AS and JKG) assessed the trials and extracted the data independently. MAIN RESULTS Five RCTs were included in this review. Three trials compared UAE with abdominal hysterectomy in 291 women. A fourth trial included 157 women and compared UAE with surgery (43 hysterectomies and 8 myomectomies). The fifth trial included 121 women and compared UAE with myomectomy in women wishing to preserve fertility.There was moderately good evidence that there is no significant difference between UAE and surgery in patient satisfaction rates at two years (OR 0.69, 0.40 to 1.21, 516 women, 5 trials) nor at five years (OR 0.90, 95% CI 0.45 to 1.80, 295 women, 2 trials). There was very low level evidence suggesting that myomectomy may be associated with better fertility outcomes than UAE, but this analysis was restricted to the limited cohort of women (n=66) who tried to conceive in the single study of UAE versus myomectomy (live birth: OR 0.33, 95% CI 0.11 to 1.00; pregnancy: OR 0.29, 95% CI 0.10 to 0.85). There was no significant difference between the two interventions in the rate of major complications. Compared to surgery, UAE significantly reduced the length of the procedure, length of hospital stay and time to resumption of routine activities and also decreased the likelihood of needing a blood transfusion. However, UAE was associated with higher rates of minor short term and long term complications, more unscheduled readmissions after discharge and an increased surgical reintervention rate. This increase in the surgical reintervention rate may balance out the initial cost advantage of UAE (reinterventions within 2 years: OR 5.64, 95% CI 2.92 to 10.90, 486 women, 4 trials; within 5 years: OR 5.79, 95% CI 2.65 to 12.65. 289 women, 2 trials). There was no significant difference in ovarian failure rates at long term follow-up. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS UAE appears to have an overall patient satisfaction rate similar to hysterectomy and myomectomy and offers an advantage with regards to a shorter hospital stay and a quicker return to routine activities. However, UAE is associated with a higher rate of minor complications and an increased likelihood of requiring surgical intervention within two to five years of the initial procedure. There is very low level evidence suggesting that myomectomy may be associated with better fertility outcomes than UAE, but more research is needed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)CD005073
    JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


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