Outcome and complications of endovascular embolization for vein of Galen malformations: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Jun Yan, Jing Wen, Roodrajeetsing Gopaul, Chao-Yuan Zhang, Shao-wen Xiao
Journal of Neurosurgery 2015, 123 (4): 872-90

OBJECT: There have been many multidisciplinary approaches to the treatment of vein of Galen malformations. Endovascular embolization is the first option for treatment. However, the effects of the treatment remain controversial. The aim of this study is to assess the efficacy and safety of endovascular embolization to treat patients with vein of Galen malformations.

METHODS: This paper includes a retrospective analysis of a sample of 667 patients who underwent endovascular embolization to treat vein of Galen malformations. The data were obtained through a literature search of PubMed databases. The authors also evaluate the efficacy and safety of the treatment. Mortality within the follow-up period is analyzed. Pooled estimates of proportions with corresponding 95% CIs were calculated using raw (i.e., untransformed) proportions (PRAW).

RESULTS: In the 34 studies evaluated, neonates accounted for 44% of the sample (95% CI 31%-57%; I(2) = 92.5%), infants accounted for 41% (95% CI 30%-51%; I(2) = 83.3%), and children and adults accounted for 12% (95% CI 7%-16%; I(2) = 52.9%). The meta-analysis revealed that complete occlusion was performed in 57% (95% CI 48%-65%; I(2) = 68.2%) of cases, with partial occlusion in 43% (95% CI 34%-51%; I(2) = 70.7%). The pooled proportion of patients showing a good outcome was 68% (95% CI 61%-76%; I(2) = 77.8%), while 31% showed a poor outcome (95% CI 24%-38%; I(2) = 75.6%). The proportional meta-analysis showed that postembolization mortality and complications were reported in 10% (95% CI 8%-12%; I(2) = 42.8%) and 37% (95% CI 29%-45%; I(2) = 79.1%), respectively. Complications included cerebral hemorrhage, cerebral ischemia, hydrocephalus, leg ischemia, and vessel perforation.

CONCLUSIONS: The successful treatment of vein of Galen malformations remains a complex therapeutic challenge. The authors' analysis of clinical history and research literature suggests that vein of Galen malformations treated with endovascular embolization can result in an acceptable mortality rate, complications, and good clinical outcome. Future large-scale, multicenter, randomized trials are necessary to confirm these findings.

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