After giving birth, some women hemorrhage and doctors need to stop the postpartum bleeding. And quickly, or the new mother could die. Often, doctors perform emergency hysterectomies, saving the mother’s lives but costing them future futility. Thankfully, now, a new study suggests a better alternative: UAE (Uterine Artery Embolization.)
What is UAE?
UAE is also called UFE—uterine fibroid embolization—because we use this procedure to treat fibroids. During UAE, we use a slender, flexible tube (catheter) to inject small particles into your uterine arteries, stopping the flow of blood. If you have fibroids, this starves the tumors of their blood supply, and they shrink and die. But if you have postpartum bleeding, it can stop uterine hemorrhaging, and may prevent the need for hysterectomy (removal of the uterus.)
Can UAE Stop Postpartum Bleeding?
A new study from Emory University’s School of medicine suggests it can! Led by Dr. Janice Newsome, researchers learned that, right now, women with postpartum bleeding are 60% more likely to get a hysterectomy than UAE. And that’s a problem, because “UAE is safer and has an easier recovery than hysterectomy,” she said at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s virtual annual meeting.
She also noted that postpartum bleeding is common. Each year, about 100,000 women in this country develop this condition. And postpartum bleeding is still the leading cause of global maternal mortality.
Currently, most women are treated with a blood transfusion. But the second most common way to stop postpartum bleeding is to give women a hysterectomy.
UAE vs Hysterectomy After Delivery
Here are the stats according to Dr. Newsome’s team. For every 1000 women with postpartum bleeding, 116 received transfusions. About 20 of those women received hysterectomies, while only 13 women were treated with UAE.
While a hysterectomy can stop postpartum bleeding, it also comes with serious, permanent side effects—plus instant loss of fertility for these new moms. Plus, after hysterectomy, moms were twice as likely to face long hospital stays. (Not to mention hefty hospital bills!)
Even more worrying? Hispanic women in particular were more likely to receive a hysterectomy. As were women in rural communities. Or those who were Medicaid patients.
In response to these findings, Dr. Newsome suggested adding an interventional radiologist to the hospital maternal medicine team. She hopes that will help reduce the rate of hysterectomy for postpartum bleeding going forward.
Choosing UAE in Houston
Are you looking for fibroid relief? And hoping to keep your uterus and avoid hysterectomy? We’re here today! Reach out to our team today and schedule a consultation. We can help you decide if you’re a good candidate for UFE!