Embolization may offer less-invasive option for BPH

April 15, 2013

Men with BPH may obtain symptomatic relief with minimally invasive prostatic artery embolization (PAE), according to results from a small, prospective study.

Men with BPH may obtain symptomatic relief with minimally invasive prostatic artery embolization (PAE), according to results from a small, prospective study.

The early findings, reported at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s annual scientific meeting in New Orleans, come from the first prospective U.S. trial of PAE, which reduces blood flow to the prostate, thus causing it to shrink.

"This U.S. clinical study confirms the results reported by interventional radiologists in Europe and South America," said Sandeep Bagla, MD, the study’s lead author and an interventional radiologist at Inova Alexandria Hospital in Alexandria, VA.

In early findings of the study, 13 of 14 men (92%) who underwent PAE noticed a significant decrease in symptoms after 1 month. None of the men suffered any major complications, such as erectile dysfunction, incontinence, or infection. Most went home the day of treatment.

Enrollment of 30 men for the first prospective U.S. study to evaluate PAE for enlarged prostates is under way and will be completed by fall, Dr. Bagla said. The study will look at clinical success and safety and will follow patients for 2 years to assess long-term results.

"The participants in our study report a true lifestyle-changing effect after this treatment, with some men stopping medication for their prostate symptoms altogether," said Dr. Bagla. "Patients who have not been helped by surgery or laser treatments have benefited. Since the treatment does not involve placing a catheter or device into the penis, there is no risk of narrowing of the urethra, incontinence or bleeding."

PAE has long been used to treat a variety of cancerous and noncancerous conditions through embolization. For instance, uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is used to shrink benign fibroid tumors in the uterus. By temporarily blocking blood flow through the prostate artery, PAE causes the prostate to shrink, providing a larger passageway for urine.

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