A NEW technique in interventional radiology has shown promise in a recent study on the treatment of nocturia (needing to urinate during the night) as a result of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or an enlarged prostate. The technique, prostate artery embolisation (PAE), involves stemming blood flow to the prostate in order to shrink it and has been shown to lead to a decrease in night-time visits to the bathroom and increased quality of life for sleep-deprived sufferers.
Lead researcher Dr Sandeep Bagla, Vascular Institute of Virginia, Woodbridge, Virginia, USA, stated: “For many men, the cause of their discomfort is an enlarged prostate and these results show men can live a more normal life once they have undergone PAE to address this condition.”
PAE is a relatively new treatment which blocks blood flow to the prostate through the insertion of tiny plastic beads in the prostate artery through a catheter. The catheter is inserted into the femoral artery and then guided towards the prostate artery on both sides of the enlarged gland.
The study analysed data on 68 men with BPH and lower urinary tract symptoms who underwent PAE, monitoring the number of times each participant needed to urinate during the night and quality of life, along with a symptom severity index completed by each participant pre-treatment. After 1 month of treatment, 25 out of 46 of the men showed an average 10-point reduction in their symptom severity index which led to a 13.4 reduction after 3 months. At this point in the study, the men also reported an average reduction in night-time bathroom visits of 1.4 episodes per night and a 2.8-point improvement in their quality of life scores.
These results show PAE to be equally as effective as surgical procedures such as transurethral resection of the prostate and photoselective vaporisation of the prostate, both of which have higher reported complications than PAE.
Dr Bagla added that although the progress of many patients improved exponentially following the procedure, it was important to note that PAE may not completely eliminate nocturia, and that patients should speak to their healthcare professional for guidance. It has been suggested that more long-term studies in larger groups are required for a better understanding of the effects of this treatment.