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If patients are imaged (CT, US, or MR) in the initial post-procedure period, gas is frequently seen in the infracted fibroids. It may persist for several weeks after UFE. This is a normal finding and is not indicative of infection or abscess formation.
Uterine Infection is typically characterized by fever and escalating pain and either pus coming from the cervix and/or positive cervical or endometrial cultures. Uterine infection is usually related to contamination of a sloughing fibroid, possibly accompanied by endometritis (infection of the lining of the uterus), and has been reported in up to 1 in 200 women who have undergone UFE. Intravenous antibiotics may be curative, but possibly surgical removal of the fibroid or even hysterectomy may be necessary.
A UTI is characterized by microbial (usually bacterial) infection of any part of the urinary system. A UTI typically causes painful urination or increased urinary frequency. It is treated by oral or intravenous antibiotics depending on its severity. The risk of UTI is theoretically increased by the use of a Foley or other type of bladder catheter.
Bacteria may enter the blood stream through degenerating fibroids. Bacteremia and sepsis (a more severe form) can be diagnosed by blood culture. Fever and systemic signs of infection have usually been present for at least 24 hours. There has been only one death reported in over 10,000 patients, which was attributable to sepsis, and the circumstances of that case were unique.
An infection at or near the procedure incision site is theoretically possible, especially if a closure device has been used to seal the artery. This complication is rare and has not yet been reported in UFE patients.