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OBJECTIVES: Comparison of medium-term safety and efficacy of hysterectomy and uterine artery embolisation (UAE) for symptomatic uterine fibroids. DESIGN: Multicentre retrospective cohort. SETTING: 18 UK NHS hospital trusts. PARTICIPANTS: Four hundred and fifty nine women who had hysterectomy within a national audit during 12 months from October 1994 (VALUE study) (average follow up of 8.6 years) and 649 women receiving UAE from 1996 to 2002 (average follow up of 4.6 years). METHODS: Clinical data from existing hospital records and patient completed postal questionnaires. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Complication rates, side effects of embolisation, satisfaction with treatment, relief from symptoms and requirement for further fibroid treatment. RESULTS: Fewer complications were experienced by women receiving UAE (19 versus 26% hysterectomy, P = 0.001), the adjusted odds ratio for UAE versus hysterectomy was 0.48 (95% CI 0.26-0.89). One-third of women undergoing UAE experienced anticipated general side effects associated with the procedure. More women in the hysterectomy cohort reported relief from fibroid symptoms (95 versus 85%, P < 0.0001) and feeling better (96 versus 84%, P < 0.0001), but only 85% would recommend the treatment to a friend compared with 91% in the UAE arm (P = 0.007). There was a 23% (95% CI 19-27%) chance of requiring further treatment for fibroids after UAE. Twenty-seven women who had had UAE reported 37 pregnancies after treatment resulting in 19 live births. CONCLUSIONS: UAE results in fewer complications than hysterectomy. Side effects after embolisation should be anticipated, and almost one-quarter of women having UAE were likely to require further treatment for fibroid symptoms. Both treatments appear to be safe and effective over the medium term, and the choice of treatment may be a matter of personal preference for each individual woman.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1340 - 1351


Adult, Arteries, Cohort Studies, Embolization, Therapeutic, Female, Humans, Hysterectomy, Leiomyoma, Middle Aged, Patient Satisfaction, Pregnancy, Retrospective Studies, Treatment Outcome, Uterine Neoplasms, Uterus