Prostatic artery embolization (PAE) in catheter-dependent patients with large prostatic (BPH) glands (>90 cc): early intervention essential.

Prostate artery embolization (PAE) is safe and effective at improving lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

To assess the effectiveness of PAE on allowing successful voiding in patients with obstructive BPH (>90 cc) necessitating a urethral catheter for complete urinary retention.

Ten consecutive patients with urethral catheters for obstructing BPH were included in the prospective study. Prostate arteries were embolized (Embosphere 300-500 um) and they had an attempted trial without catheter (TWOC) at two weeks and then at two-week intervals thereafter, if unsuccessful. They were clinically reviewed; an MRI was performed three and 12 months after PAE. Quality of life (QOL) questionnaires, International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS), and International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) were also performed.

All cases were technically successful (100%). Eight patients had their catheters removed by their three-month follow-up (80%). The two cases that failed their TWOC by three months remained with a urethral catheter at 12-month follow-up. Seven of ten patients had their PAE procedure < 3 months following insertion of the urethral catheter and 100% of these had a successful TWOC before their three-month follow-up. Of the three patients that had their urethral catheter inserted > 3 months before their PAE (range 6-24 months), only 1/3 (33%) became catheter-free by 12 months after PAE. There was a dramatic reduction in LUTS and improvements in QOL indices, IPSS, and IIEF. There was no associated sexual dysfunction.

PAE is very successful in allowing spontaneous voiding in men with obstructing BPH requiring a urethral catheter. However, the PAE should be performed as soon as possible after the urethral catheter is inserted. Direct referral from acute urology services or emergency departments once the catheter is inserted are warranted.

Acta radiologica (Stockholm, Sweden : 1987). 2019 Mar 07 [Epub ahead of print]

Charles R Tapping, Phil Boardman

Department of Radiology, Churchill Hospital, Old Road, Headington, Oxford, UK.

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