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J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2011 Feb;22(2):169-76. doi: 10.1016/j.jvir.2010.09.031. Epub 2010 Dec 22.

Uterine artery embolization in the treatment of postpartum uterine hemorrhage.

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Department of Radiology, Division of Angiography and Interventional Radiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 75 Francis St., SR-340, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



To evaluate the clinical effectiveness and safety of uterine artery embolization (UAE) in the treatment of primary postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), secondary PPH, and PPH associated with cesarean section.


All women who underwent UAE for obstetric-related hemorrhage during a 52-month period culminating in April 2009 were included. Clinical success was defined as obviation of hysterectomy. Blood product requirements before and after UAE were calculated. Statistically significant associations between subject characteristics and clinical success were evaluated. The two subgroups of women with uterine artery pseudoaneurysms and women who underwent cesarean section were examined separately as well.


Sixty-six women (mean age, 33 years; range, 17-47 y) underwent UAE, with an overall clinical success rate of 95% (98% for primary PPH, 88% for secondary PPH, and 94% for PPH associated with cesarean section) and an overall complication rate of 4.5%. Mean pre- and postembolization transfusion requirements were 3.1 U and 0.4 U of packed red blood cells, respectively. The only significant characteristic identified for the cases that necessitated hysterectomy was an increased transfusion requirement after UAE (increase of 1.0 U ± 0.5; P = .02). Uterine artery pseudoaneurysms were associated with secondary PPH (P = .01) and cesarean section (P = .03).


The threshold for UAE in women with PPH should be low, as it is associated with a high clinical effectiveness rate and a low complication rate. Uterine artery pseudoaneurysms should be suspected in women presenting with secondary PPH after cesarean section.

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