Nav: Home

Minimally invasive, less expensive treatment for uterine fibroids underutilized

March 06, 2017

WASHINGTON (March 6, 2017)--A large nationwide study examining the treatment of uterine fibroids shows that the uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), a minimally invasive, image-guided treatment performed by interventional radiologists, is vastly underutilized, compared to hysterectomies--especially in rural and smaller hospitals. In fact, there were more than 65 times as many hysterectomies performed than UFEs, despite data showing that UFEs result in substantially lower costs and shorter hospital stays than hysterectomies, according to research presented today at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting.

"These findings suggest there is a lack of awareness about this safe, effective and less invasive therapy for uterine fibroids," said Prasoon Mohan, M.D., MRCS, the study's lead author and assistant professor in the department of interventional radiology at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. "Interventional radiologists urge health care professionals to present patients with all available treatment options so that the patient can make an informed decision. Patients need to know about the major differences between surgical treatments and UFE, especially that this is a non-surgical treatment that preserves the uterus and has a much faster recovery time compared to hysterectomy." According to the National Institutes of Health, a majority of women--almost three out of four--will develop uterine fibroids by the age of 50. Women are at increased risk for developing fibroids if they are overweight, African-American, over the age of 40, have high blood pressure, have had no children, and have first-degree relatives with fibroids.

Fibroids develop from the uterine muscular wall and vary in size from a quarter of an inch to larger than a cantaloupe. In most cases, women are not aware that they have fibroids because they do not have symptoms. Symptoms when they occur include heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pressure or pain, abdominal enlargement, pain with intercourse, constipation and frequent urination.

This study included an analysis of data from the 2012 and 2013 Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS), the largest all-payer inpatient health care database in the country. Using billing codes that identified hysterectomies and UFEs completed for the treatment of uterine fibroids, researchers compared how women were treated for this condition, the costs of the treatments, and the outcomes.

The NIS data revealed that over this period, 165,000 more hysterectomies were performed than UFEs (167,650 vs. 2,470) nationwide. Further, researchers found that only 0.4 percent of UFEs were performed in rural hospitals compared to 9.4 percent of hysterectomies in the same setting; and 7.9 percent of UFE were performed in small hospital systems compared to 67.4 percent in large hospitals systems.

"The fact that so few women undergo UFE in rural and small hospital settings shows a health care access and education disparity in who receives this treatment. It is important that we continue to educate patients about choice and determine ways to increase access to this effective, less invasive therapy," said Mohan.

The data also showed that UFE resulted in shorter hospital stays (2.16 for UFE vs. 2.32 days for hysterectomy), and was less expensive than hysterectomy by about $12,000 ($21,583 for UFE vs. $33,104 for hysterectomy). Further, the women who elected to undergo UFE had more chronic conditions than found in the patients who received a hysterectomy.

UFE is performed by an interventional radiologist who inserts a thin catheter into the artery at the groin or wrist. The doctor guides the catheter to the fibroid's blood supply where small particles, about the size of grains of sand, are released to float downstream and block the small blood vessels and deprive the fibroid of nutrients. This results in the fibroid softening, bleeding less, and shrinking in size. Approximately nine out of 10 patients who undergo uterine fibroid embolization will experience significant improvement or their symptoms will go away completely.
-end-
Abstract 106: "Nationwide analysis of hospital characteristics, demographics and cost of uterine fibroid embolization." S. Narayanan; A. Gonzalez; A. Echenique; P. Mohan; University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL. SIR Annual Scientific Meeting, March 4-9, 2017. This abstract can be found at sirmeeting.org.

About the Society of Interventional Radiology

The Society of Interventional Radiology is a nonprofit, professional medical society representing more than 6,100 practicing interventional radiology physicians, scientists and clinical associates, dedicated to improving patient care through the limitless potential of image-guided therapies. SIR's members work in a variety of settings and at different professional levels -- from medical students and residents to university faculty and private practice physicians. Visit sirweb.org.

The Society of Interventional Radiology is holding its Annual Scientific Meeting March 4-9, 2017 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Visit sirmeeting.org.

Society of Interventional Radiology

Related Uterine Fibroids Articles:

The biology of uterine fluid: How it informs the fetus of mom's world
A developing fetus bathes in a mixture of cellular secretions and proteins unique to its mother's uterus.
Uterine fibroid embolization helps restore fertility
A minimally invasive treatment can help restore fertility in women with uterine fibroids, according to a new study.
Vanderbilt-led study disputes link between uterine fibroids and miscarriage risk
A 10-year study, led by Vanderbilt University Medical Center professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology Katherine Hartmann, M.D., Ph.D., disrupts conventional wisdom that uterine fibroids cause miscarriages.
MRI-guided high-intensity focused ultrasound therapy for uterine fibroids has potential
IQWiG has attributed a potential for a benefit to a new treatment method according to ยง137e SGB V.
Genetic analysis better explains how uterine cancers resist treatment
Researchers have charted the complex molecular biology of uterine carcinosarcoma, a rare and aggressive gynecologic cancer, according to a study published on March 13 in Cancer Cell.
Minimally invasive, less expensive treatment for uterine fibroids underutilized
A large nationwide study examining the treatment of uterine fibroids shows that the uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), a minimally invasive, image-guided treatment performed by interventional radiologists, is vastly underutilized, compared to hysterectomies -- especially in rural and smaller hospitals.
PI3K/mTOR inhibitors may be effective against some uterine sarcomas
The protein P-S6S240 may serve as an indicator of poor prognosis for patients with a hard-to-treat type of uterine sarcoma called leiomyosarcoma, and preclinical data suggest that patients whose tumors have this protein may respond to PI3K/mTOR inhibitors.
Uterine glands vital for embryo growth, successful pregnancies
Scientists and doctors have known for several years that glands within the uterus produce Leukemia Inhibitory Factor (LIF), which is vital for embryo implantation and successful pregnancies.
Endometrial cancer driver mutations detectable in uterine lavage fluid
Mutations that have been linked to endometrial cancer can be found in the uterine lavage fluid of pre- and post-menopausal women both with and without detectable cancer, according to a study published in PLOS Medicine by John Martignetti from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA, and colleagues.
Uterine microbiota play a key role in implantation and pregnancy success in in vitro fertilization
Endometrial microbiota (bacteria in the uterine cavity) play an important role in determining whether women are able to get pregnant via in vitro fertilization (IVF), according to a new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Related Uterine Fibroids Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...