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Genicular Artery Embolization Promising for Knee Osteoarthritis

Technical success achieved in all 40 patients; reduction in symptom and pain scores seen at 12 months

man holding his knee in pain sitting on the chair

FRIDAY, March 26, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The final results of a prospective investigational device exemption trial of genicular artery embolization (GAE) for the treatment of moderate-to-severe knee osteoarthritis (OA) were presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology, held virtually from March 20 to 26.

Siddharth A. Padia, M.D., from University of California Los Angeles Health, and colleagues conducted a prospective open-label trial at a single center to examine the safety and efficacy of GAE for the treatment of symptomatic knee OA. Participants were aged 40 to 80 years, with moderate or severe focal knee pain and OA on knee radiograph, had failed to respond to conservative therapy, and were either ineligible or unwilling to undergo total knee replacement surgery.

Forty patients were treated with GAE during a nine-month period; median and lateral knee pain was treated in 27 and 13 patients, respectively. The researchers found that in 100 percent of the patients, technical success was achieved. Transient skin discoloration and transient mild postprocedural knee pain were expected and common. Treatment-related adverse events included groin hematoma requiring overnight observation in one patient, self-resolving focal skin ulceration in seven patients, and an asymptomatic small bone infarct on magnetic resonance imaging at three months in two patients. At 12 months, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) and pain scores decreased by 60 and 63 percent, respectively, from baseline. A reduction of more than 50 percent in WOMAC and pain scores was seen in 67.5 and 70 percent of participants, respectively.

"Prior to treatment, patients' knee pain had taken over their whole life," Padia said in a statement. "But after treatment, patients who initially could walk only three or four blocks were walking three miles."

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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