Document Type



Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa)


Background: The main aim in the treatment of symptomatic fibroids by various modalities including uterine fibroid embolisation (UFE) is to alleviate symptoms and ultimately improve the quality of life. The efficacy of this modality of treatment in Black African women with significant fibroid burden and large uterine volumes is not clear. The main objective of the study was to examine potential changes in symptom severity among Black African patients 1 year following UFE for symptomatic uterine fibroids in a resource-constrained setting, rated using a validated questionnaire (UFS-QOL). Secondary outcomes examined were changes in quality of life and potential associations with age, parity, uterine volume and fibroid number prior to UFE. Additional interventions after UFE were also recorded.

Methods: A prospective before and after study of Black African patients undergoing UFE was undertaken. Participants underwent pelvic MR imaging prior to UFE and completed the UFS-QOL, a validated condition-specific questionnaire at baseline and at 1 year. Ninety five participants were recruited and data from 80 completing 1 year of follow up were available for analysis of changes in the symptom severity scores.

Results: The mean reduction in symptom severity score was 29.6 [95% CI 23.6 to 35.6, P < 0.001] and the mean improvement in HRQOL score was 35.7 [95% CI 28.4 to 42.9, P < 0.001]. A greater number of fibroids identified prior to UFE was associated with a more substantial improvement in symptom severity score (rs = 0.28, n = 80, P = 0.013) and participants of higher parity reported a greater improvement in HRQOL score (r = 0.336, P = 0.002). Major and minor surgical interventions were needed in 5 (6.3%) and 10 (12.5%) participants respectively.

Conclusions: UFE is associated with clinically useful and statistically significant symptom relief in Black African patients. Symptom improvement following UFE is not compromised by a large fibroid burden and the rate of subsequent intervention is within an acceptable range. UFE is a safe alternative and efforts are needed to widen access to this non-surgical treatment modality.


BMC Research Notes