FAIRFAX, Va., April 12, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New research shows that women with uterine fibroids, who underwent nonsurgical, image-guided uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), experienced improved sexual function and a higher overall quality of life. The results, part of a French multicenter study, were presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting.
"Women with uterine fibroids often experience troubling symptoms and significant discomfort, which diminish their sex lives and reduce their quality of life," said Helene Vernhet-Kovacsik, M.D., the study's lead researcher and an interventional radiologist in the department of vascular radiology at Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Montpellier in France. "Working in collaboration with a patient's gynecologist, interventional radiologists can now offer these women a treatment option which alleviates chronic pain and allows the opportunity to lead a full and more normal life."
Researchers from 25 centers throughout France conducted a prospective study involving 264 women who underwent UFE to treat benign fibroid growths. During UFE, an interventional radiologist uses real-time imaging to guide a catheter into the uterine arteries and then releases tiny particles, the size of grains of sand, to block the blood flow that supplies oxygen and nutrients to the fibroid tumors, causing them to shrink and die.
Study participants completed the Uterine Fibroid Symptom and Health-related Quality of Life Questionnaire (UFE-QoL) to report their quality of life before and one year post treatment. The women were also asked to complete the Female Sexual Function Index, or FSFI (a brief questionnaire developed for the specific purpose of assessing sexual function in clinical trials), to track their sexual function, including items such as desire, arousal, lubrication and orgasm.
At the beginning of the study, 189 of the 264 women suffered abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding and 171 experienced pain, among other symptoms associated with pelvic pressure. When researchers followed up with participants a year after treatment, only 39 of those 189 continued to experience abnormal bleeding and only 42 of the 171 women still dealt with pelvic pressure.
Nearly eight in 10 (78.8 percent) women who completed self-reported assessments at the one-year mark demonstrated improvement in sexual function. Additionally, about nine in 10 (90.2 percent) women who completed the UFE-QoL assessment reported a better overall quality of life, with average scores increasing from 45 at treatment to 71 one year after.
"The significant quality of life improvements demonstrated in this study should help put an end to any debate on the effectiveness of UFE and its numerous benefits for women with symptomatic fibroids," said Alan H. Matsumoto, M.D., FSIR, an interventional radiologist and professor and chair of the department of radiology and medical imaging at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville and an expert in minimally invasive treatments for uterine fibroids. "Although in use for more than 20 years, UFE is rarely offered as a treatment option to women in the United States, despite the fact that it is a proven, safe and effective treatment that spares women from the risks and long-term consequences of a hysterectomy," said Matsumoto, who is also the SIR 2015-16 president.
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.
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SOURCE Society of Interventional Radiology