Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is vastly underutilized compared to hysterectomies, especially in rural and smaller hospitals, according to a nationwide study.
Research presented Monday afternoon found that, despite data showing that UFEs result in substantially lower costs and shorter hospital stays than hysterectomies, more than 65 times as many hysterectomies are performed than UFEs. Srinivasan Narayanan, PhD, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, presented the abstract “Nationwide analysis of hospital characteristics, demographics and cost of uterine fibroid embolization” as part of the “Arterial Embolization: UFE” scientific session.
This study included an analysis of data from the 2012 and 2013 Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS), the largest all-payer inpatient health care database in the country. Using billing codes that identified hysterectomies and UFEs completed for the treatment of uterine fibroids, researchers compared how women were treated for this condition, the costs of the treatments and the outcomes.
The NIS data revealed that, over this period, 165,000 more hysterectomies were performed than UFEs (167,650 vs. 2,470) nationwide. Researchers also found that only 0.4 percent of UFEs were performed in rural hospitals, compared to 9.4 percent of hysterectomies in the same setting, and 7.9 percent of UFEs were performed in small hospital systems, compared to 67.4 percent in large hospital systems.
“These findings suggest there is a lack of awareness about this safe, effective and less invasive therapy for uterine fibroids,” said Prasoon Mohan, MD, MRCS, before SIR 2017. Dr. Mohan is the study’s lead author and assistant professor in the department of interventional radiology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
The data showed that UFE resulted in shorter hospital stays (2.16 for UFE vs. 2.32 days for hysterectomy) and was less expensive than hysterectomy by about $12,000 ($21,583 for UFE vs. $33,104 for hysterectomy). Further, the women who elected to undergo UFE had more chronic conditions than found in the patients who received a hysterectomy.
“The fact that so few women undergo UFE in rural and small hospital settings shows a health care access and education disparity in who receives this treatment. It is important that we continue to educate patients about choice and determine ways to increase access to this effective, less invasive therapy,” said Dr. Mohan.
This abstract, No. 106, can be found at sirmeeting.org.