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|Female Reconstructive Surgery|
there have been no deaths reported in the United States from UFE, there has
been 1 death in England associated with UFE. Apparently the woman developed
sepsis (blood poisoning) several weeks after her UFE and, ultimately, died
of multiple organ failure at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London. As
with any medical procedure, risk of death is always a possibility.
Details of this
death can be found in the following British medical journal for obgyns:
Lancet, 07/24/99, Vol. 354 Issue 9175, p307, 2p
Authors: Vashisht, Arvind; Studd, John; Carey, Adam; Burn, Paul
The woman in
this case was 51 years old with a 2 year history of increasing blood loss
due to submucosal fibroids that were not suitable for hysteroscopic resection.
She did not want a hysterectomy. She attempted to use Zoladax (a GnRH analogue)
to shrink her fibroids -- but headaches were too severe and she discontinued
use of the drug. Ultimately, her blood loss required blood transfusions.
She underwent UFE in January 1999 with a fibroid uterus that measured in at 14 x 12 x 11 centimeters. There were no immediate complications and she seemed to recover well from the procedure. She did, however, develop a urinary tract infection. She was released on antibiotics and oral analgesics. Seven days later she was readmitted with abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. Ultimately, she underwent total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oopherectomy in an attempt to remove the infarcted, submucosal fibroid. Nonetheless, after 15 days in the intensive care unit, she ultimately died of septicaemia (blood poisoning) resulting in multi-organ failure.
For doctors desiring more medical details, consult the article cited above. If you are looking for something remarkable about this case, however, I don't think you will find it in the above article. Nothing I read struck me as odd, out of the ordinary, or mis-handling in this woman's care. I'm not a doctor though so it's definitely possible that I missed something. If you see something extraordinary that I missed in reading the case report, let me know.
Sidenote: Case reports in their published form often do not include many details that are critical to the analysis of a case. For instance, if there is any miscommunication between physicians caring for the patient or between the patient and her physicians that contributed to a patient's demise, you won't read about it in the published case report. If there is disagreement over a course of treatment when events occur, you won't read about it in the case report. If there is mishandling of the patient at any point in the process, you won't read about it in the case report. On the other hand, a case report could very well be an accurate and complete detailing of precisely what occurred with the patient. How does the public reading the report know if it is complete? I don't know. I just don't know.
For women who are concerned about their own situation and potential for this to occur to them, it can never be understated that it is important for each and every one of us to actively participate in our medical care by obtaining as much information as possible about our condition. Know what kind of uterine fibroids you have, where they are located, how large they are and ALL of your potential options for treating them. Learn about the potential risks to your particular type of fibroids (as different types of fibroids carry different risks and different treatment options) so that you can be proactive in following up with your own recovery process with whatever course of treatment you choose.
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This page last updated Saturday, February 02, 2002