The search for ways to improve uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) patient care is ongoing. From better pain management to cutting-edge imaging techniques, UFE patient care is continually evolving to yield the best treatment results for women. This pursuit of improved patient care includes selecting an embolic material that gets superior results. A Scottish study revealed that choosing Embosphere® Microspheres can lead to a greater reduction in uterine volume post-UFE in comparison to competing Gelfoam embolic.1
The small study, published in the journal CVIR Endovascular, was the first double blind randomized controlled trial comparing Embosphere with Gelfoam among women undergoing UFE for the treatment of symptomatic uterine fibroids, a type of noncancerous growth found in the uterus that can cause heavy menstrual bleeding and severe pelvic pain.1
To treat such symptoms, UFE shrinks fibroids by injecting tiny particles called embolic into uterine arteries that feed fibroids with blood. Once deprived of blood flow, fibroids shrink and die, resulting in symptom improvement. Embosphere Microspheres and Gelfoam are two types of embolic used for UFE.
Of the 20 women involved in the study, 10 randomly received treatment with Embosphere and 10 with Gelfoam.1 Researchers recorded treatment outcomes up to 6 months after UFE.
At the end of follow up, results showed a significant difference in uterine volume between groups, a reduction of 281 cm2 in favor of Embosphere.1 Reduction in uterine volume was also matched by a significant decrease in dominant fibroid diameter, again seen in the Embosphere group but not in the Gelfoam group.
Shrinking fibroids, resulting in a reduction in uterine size, not only can help with menstrual issues but may also relieve pressure put on surrounding organs, such as the bladder. Women have reported urinary frequency as a common fibroid symptom. UFE treatment has been linked to dramatic improvements in urinary-related quality of life.
In addition to this decrease in uterine size, at 6 months the researchers saw complete fibroid infarction—or death of all fibroid tissue due to UFE—in more than two times as many women in the Embosphere group (50%) than the Gelfoam group (20%).1
Complete infarction of all fibroids is associated with better long-term clinical outcomes, including a higher rate of symptom control and a lower rate of additional gynecologic intervention compared with incomplete infarction of fibroid tissue.2 Further research comparing Embosphere with other competing embolic material shows 92.3% of patients treated with Embosphere have 100% infarction of their entire uterine fibroid tumor burden.3
Merit Medical, the maker of Embosphere, attributes this treatment success to its patented design. An innovative round embolic, Embosphere Microspheres treat target blood vessels, enabling long-lasting fibroid symptom relief. It’s also the most clinically studied and clinically utilized round embolic with decades of proven performance.4
Although the researchers of the study conclude that a larger trial is needed to better understand these results, this information can serve as another step forward in the improvement of UFE patient care.
- Yadavali, R., Ananthakrishnan, G., Sim, M., et al. (2019). Randomised trial of two embolic agents for uterine artery embolisation for fibroids: Gelfoam versus Embospheres (RAGE trial). CVIR Endovasc, 2(1):4.
- Katsumori, T., Kasahara, T., Kin, Y., et al. (2008). Infarction of uterine fibroids after embolization: Relationship between postprocedural enhanced MRI findings and long-term clinical outcomes. Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol, Jan-Feb;31(1):66-72.
- Siskin, G. P., Beck, A., Schuster, M., et al. (2008). Leiomyoma infarction after uterine artery embolization: A prospective randomized study comparing tris-acryl gelatin microspheres versus polyvinyl alcohol microspheres. J Vasc Interv Radiol, Jan;19(1):58-65.
- Data on file.