MONDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- Men who need treatment for
an enlarged prostate may soon have a new nonsurgical option, a
small, early study suggests.
Called prostatic artery embolization (PAE), the technique uses a
catheter threaded into an artery in the leg. The catheter is guided
to the artery that supplies blood to the prostate. Then, tiny beads
are injected into the artery, which temporarily block the blood
supply to the prostate.
The temporary loss of blood supply causes the prostate to
shrink, relieving symptoms, according to study lead author Dr.
Sandeep Bagla. What's more, the new treatment doesn't appear to
have the same risk of serious complications, such as incontinence
and impotence, that often accompany enlarged prostate
"This is fantastic news for the average man with benign prostatic hyperplasia. Many men decline current treatments because of the risks. But, for the average man, PAE is a no-brainer," said Bagla, an interventional radiologist at Inova Alexandria Hospital, in Virginia.
The procedure has only been available as part of Bagla's trial
until recently, but he said some interventional radiologists have
started doing prostatic artery embolization, and he expects the
procedure will become more widely available by the end of the
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is the medical term for an enlarged
prostate. An enlarged prostate is very common as men get older. As
many as half of all men in their 60s will have an enlarged
prostate, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and
Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). By the time men are in their
70s and 80s, up to 90 percent have benign prostatic hyperplasia,
according to the NIDDK.
Some men experience no symptoms, while others may feel the need
to urinate frequently, but they have a weak urinary stream, the
NIDDK says. There are a number of treatments available for benign
prostatic hyperplasia, including medications and surgery.
Bagla said that interventional radiologists in Europe and South
America have been using prostatic artery embolization, and that the
current study is the first in the United States to test the
He and his colleagues hope to treat a total of 30 patients, but
they're reporting on the results from the first 18 patients on
Monday at the annual meeting of Society of Interventional
Radiology, in New Orleans. The data and conclusions should be
viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed
For the study, the average age of the patients who underwent
prostatic artery embolization was 67 years. None of the men had to
be admitted to the hospital after the procedure.
Ninety-four percent of the men (17 of 18) had a significant
decrease in their symptoms one month after surgery. And, none
reported any major complications following the surgery.
Bagla said the exact cost of the new procedure is difficult to
estimate right now, but prostatic artery embolization will be
cheaper than most of the currently used procedures, he said,
because there's no need for an operating room and overnight
hospital stays. In addition, he said, because the new procedure
doesn't appear to cause complications, that will save health care
dollars as well.
"This may become part of the armamentarium of treatments that can be offered for [benign prostatic hyperplasia]," said Dr. Art Rastinehad, director of interventional urologic oncology at North Shore-LIJ Health System in New Hyde Park, N.Y. He was not involved with the new study.
"This was a small series and a limited study to draw significant conclusions from. But, it's very exciting to see it evaluated and moving forward," he said.
Learn more about prostate enlargement from the
U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive ...
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