Evaluation of the effect of uterine artery embolisation on menstrual blood loss and uterine volume

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Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the effect of uterine artery embolisation (UAE) on menstrual blood loss (MBL) and uterine volume in women with symptomatic uterine fibroids.

Design

Prospective observational study.

Setting

West of Scotland gynaecology and radiology departments.

Population

Fifty women (mean age 43 years) with symptomatic fibroids undergoing UAE between January 1999 and June 2003.

Methods

Women collected sanitary protection from one menses pre-embolisation and at regular intervals thereafter. This allowed objective measurement of MBL using the alkaline haematin technique. Uterine volume was calculated using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) before and six months following embolisation. Interventional radiologists performed bilateral UAE. The Wilcoxon's signed rank test was used for statistical analysis of data.

Main outcome measures

Post-embolisation MBL and uterine volume changes.

Results

Median pretreatment MBL was 162 mL (mean 234, range 9–1339). The median MBL decreased to 60 mL at 3 months (n = 34, range 0–767, P < 0.001), 70 mL at 6–9 months (n = 34, range 0–1283, P < 0.001), 37 mL at 12–24 months (n = 25, range 0–265, P < 0.001), 18 mL at 24–36 months (n = 17, range 0–205, P < 0.001) and 41 mL at 36–48 months (n = 6, range 0–66, P < 0.05). The median reduction in uterine volume was 40% (n = 46, 95% CI 33.0–49.7, P < 0.001).

Conclusions

UAE causes a statistically significant reduction in objectively measured MBL. UAE is also associated with a statistically significant reduction in uterine volume at six months. There was no relationship between the changes in uterine volume and MBL.

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