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Success Rate of Prostate Artery Embolization

How successful is prostate artery embolization?

The success rate of prostate artery embolization (PAE) at relieving symptoms of an enlarged prostate is around 85%. There are many definitions and rates of procedural success, which appear throughout the medical literature. Here, our Austin interventional radiologist will try to make sense of all of the numbers, so that you can make an informed decision about what prostate procedure best fits your needs.

What is the difference between technical success and clinical success rates with PAE?

Technical success is defined as the ability of an interventional radiologist to perform prostate artery embolization on at least one side of the prostate gland. This is around 98% in the hands of an interventional radiologist who performs this procedure in high volumes.

Clinical success rate is defined as meaningful improvement of urinary symptoms from an enlarged prostate (i.e., urinating less, having less urgency, not waking up at night, and the ability to completely empty the bladder). The clinical success of PAE is 85%.

Because meaningful improvement can be different from one person to the next, the medical community has adopted a symptom survey called the International Prostate Symptom Score, IPSS score. Most of us will quote that around 10 points of improvement on the 0-35 point scale is a clinical success. Here is one of the often-quoted scientific articles with a relatively large number of patients showing these approximate numbers.

Other definitions of success with prostate artery embolization

In patients who have a urinary catheter in place, have bleeding from an enlarged prostate gland, or are aiming to get off certain prostate medications, the success rates are a little different.

Patients who had a catheter placed due to inability to urinate can get this procedure to shrink the prostate and have their catheter removed. The success rate of catheter removal is reported at 85% to 90%.

In patients who have severe urinary symptoms and are dependent on alpha blocker medication, such as tamsulosin, approximately 70% of patients will have significant urinary symptom relief, in addition to coming off their alpha blocker.

For patients with bleeding from an enlarged prostate gland, also known as hematuria, prostate artery embolization has around an 80% success rate. Interestingly, this was the original purpose of PAE.

Learn more

Our Austin interventional radiologist is happy to discuss the process of prostate artery embolization and explain success rates. If you would like to learn more about PAE, schedule a consultation with Preston Smith, MD, our board certified vascular and interventional radiologist.

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