WASHINGTON (WUSA9) --Men face a common problem when they age. According to the American Urological Association, Benign Prostatic Hyperplasion or BPH occurs in over half of all men over 60 years of age. That number grows to 90 percent of men over 85. In this condition, the prostate becomes enlarged. It can complicate the flow of urine by putting pressure on the urethra.
68-year-old Ron Simmons of Woodstock, Va. started having urinary problems 10 years ago.
"Being able to go to the bathroom is a big part of life and you don't realize it until you can't do it," Simmons said.
He had an enlarged prostate. Prescription drugs helped relax the muscle behind his prostate allowing Simmons to empty his bladder. However, his prostate gland continued to grow.
"I was at the absolute maximum of Terazosin and I couldn't take anymore," Simmons said.
Simmons enrolled in a clinical study at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital. A new non-surgical and minimally invasive procedure called Prostatic Artery Embolization (PAE), is performed to reduce the prostate.
Interventional Radiologist at Georgetown and the study's principal investigator, Dr. James Spies says the best candidates for PAE are between 50 and 90-years-old.
"The prostate gland also has to be moderately enlarged, but not too large, 50-100 grams," Dr. Spies said.
Simmons was at 97.
Dr. Spies used x-ray guidance to insert a catheter through the artery at the top of Ron's leg. Tiny beads called microspheres were injected into the arteries surrounding the prostate, blocking its blood supply.
"That results in the shrinkage of the prostate gland and in most cases patients' symptoms will be relieved," Dr. Spies said.
Results show PAE could be an effective alternative treatment for men with an enlarged prostate. Dr. Spies says at the moment it is not a replacement for the current standard therapies. Medstar Georgetown is still enrolling participants for the PAE.
Simmons suggests, "Any man that can have PAE over any other procedure, it's a no brainer. You just have to go for it."
View the full list of requirements.
To be considered for the PAE study please call 202-444-6825.