Objective: To determine baseline characteristics of women undergoing uterine artery embolization (UAE) for symptomatic fibroids.
Design: Multicenter, prospective, single-arm clinical treatment trial.
Setting: Eight Ontario university and community hospitals.
Patient(s): Five hundred fifty-five women undergoing UAE for fibroids.
Intervention(s): Baseline questionnaires completed before UAE.
Main outcome measure(s): Questionnaires were analyzed for demographic, medical, and gynecologic histories. Fibroid symptoms, impact of symptoms, previous consultations, and treatments were also analyzed.
Result(s): The Ontario cohort (66% white, 23% black, 11% other races) had an average age of 43. Thirty-one percent were under age 40. Most women were university educated (68%) and working outside the home (85%). Women reported heavy menstrual bleeding (80%), urinary urgency/frequency (73%), pain during intercourse (41%), and work absences (40%). They experienced fibroid-related symptoms for an average of 5 years and consulted with on average of three gynecologists before UAE. High fibroid life-impact scores were reported by 58%. Black women were significantly younger (40.7 vs. 44.0 years), more likely to experience symptoms longer (7 vs. 5 years), and more likely to undergo myomectomy before UAE (24% vs. 9%) than white women.
Conclusion(s): Our study illustrates that large numbers of women with highly symptomatic fibroid disease are averse to surgery despite their burden of suffering and are actively seeking alternatives to hysterectomy.