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OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the relative cost-effectiveness of uterine artery embolisation (UAE) and hysterectomy in women with symptomatic uterine fibroids from the perspective of the UK NHS. DESIGN: Cost-utility analysis. SETTING: Eighteen UK NHS hospital trusts. POPULATION OR SAMPLE Women who underwent UAE (n= 649; average follow up of 8.6 years) or hysterectomy (n= 459; average follow up of 4.6 years) for the treatments of symptomatic fibroids. METHODS: A probabilistic decision model was carried out based on data from a large comparative cohort and the literature. The two interventions were evaluated over the time horizon from the initial procedure to menopause. Extensive sensitivity analysis was carried out to test model assumptions and parameter uncertainties. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Costs of procedures and complications and quality of life expressed as quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). RESULTS: Overall, UAE was associated with lower mean cost (2536 pounds sterling versus 3282 pounds sterling) and a small reduction in quality of life (8.203 versus 8.241 QALYs) when compared with hysterectomy. However, when the quality of life associated with the conservation of the uterus was incorporated in the model, UAE was shown to be the dominant strategy--lower costs and greater QALYs. CONCLUSIONS: UAE is a less expensive option to the health service compared with hysterectomy, even when the costs of repeat procedures and associated complications are factored in. The quality of life implications in the short term are also predicted to favour UAE; however, this advantage may be eroded over time as women undergo additional procedures to deal with recurrent fibroids. Given the hysterectomy is the current standard treatment for symptomatic fibroids, offering women UAE as an alternative treatment for fibroids is likely to be highly cost-effective for those women who prefer uterus-conserving treatment.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1352 - 1362


Adult, Arteries, Costs and Cost Analysis, Efficiency, Organizational, Embolization, Therapeutic, Female, Humans, Hysterectomy, Leiomyoma, Middle Aged, Postoperative Complications, Quality of Life, Quality-Adjusted Life Years, Retrospective Studies, Risk Factors, Treatment Outcome, Uterine Neoplasms, Uterus