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Microsurgical versus endovascular treatment of ethmoidal dural arteriovenous fistulas: systematic review and meta-analysis with a single-center case series.

OBJECTIVE: Ethmoidal dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) are often associated with cortical venous drainage (CVD) and a higher incidence of hemorrhage compared with DAVFs in other locations. They may be treated with open surgical disconnection or with endovascular treatment (EVT). In this systematic review and meta-analysis, the authors compare the outcomes of ethmoidal DAVFs treated with open microsurgery versus EVT and report four additional cases of ethmoidal DAVFs treated with open microsurgery in their institution.

METHODS: A literature search of the PubMed and Scopus databases was conducted between December 2021 and May 2022 to identify relevant articles published between 1990 and 2021 using the PRISMA guidelines. References were reviewed and screened by two authors independently, and disagreements were resolved through consensus. Exclusion criteria included non-English-language studies, those with an incorrect study design, those reporting DAVFs in a nonethmoidal location, and studies whose outcomes were not stratified based on DAVF location. Inclusion criteria were any studies reporting on ethmoidal DAVFs treated by either microsurgery or EVT. A risk of bias assessment was performed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. The authors performed a pooled proportional meta-analysis to compare patient outcomes.

RESULTS: Twenty studies were included for analysis. Of 224 patients, 142 were treated with surgery, while 103 were treated with EVT. Seventy percent (148/210) of the patients were symptomatic at presentation, with hemorrhage being the most common presentation (48%). CVD was present in 98% of patients and venous ectasia in 61%. The rates of complete DAVF obliteration with surgery and EVT were 89% and 70%, respectively (95% CI -30% to -10%, p < 0.03). Twenty percent (21/103) of endovascularly treated fistulas required subsequent surgery. Procedure-related complications occurred in 10% of the surgical cases, compared with 13% of the EVT cases. The authors' case series included 4 patients with ethmoidal DAVFs treated surgically with complete obliteration, without any postoperative complications.

CONCLUSIONS: The complete obliteration rates of ethmoidal DAVF appear to be higher and more definitive with microsurgical intervention than with EVT. While complication rates between the two procedures seem similar, patients treated with EVT may require further interventions for definitive treatment. The limitations of this study include its retrospective nature, the quality of studies included, and the continued evolving technologies of EVT. Future studies should focus on the association between venous drainage pattern and the proclivity toward venous ectasia or rate of hemorrhage at presentation.

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