Background: Pulmonary arteriovenous malformations are abnormal direct connections between the pulmonary artery and pulmonary vein which result in a right-to-left shunt. They are associated with substantial morbidity and mortality mainly from the effects of paradoxical emboli. Potential complications include stroke, cerebral abscess, pulmonary haemorrhage and hypoxaemia. Embolisation is an endovascular intervention based on the occlusion of the feeding arteries the pulmonary arteriovenous malformations thus eliminating the abnormal right-to-left-shunting.
Objectives: To determine the efficacy and safety of embolisation in patients with pulmonary arteriovenous malformations including a comparison with surgical resection and different embolisation devices.
Search methods: We searched the Cystic Fibrosis and Genetic Disorders Group's Trials Register; date of last search: 09 February 2012.We also searched the following databases: the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry; ClinicalTrials.gov; International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number Register; International Clinical Trials Registry Platform Search Portal (last searched 15 May 2012).We checked cross-references and searched references from review articles.
Selection criteria: Trials in which individuals with pulmonary arteriovenous malformations were randomly allocated to embolisation compared to no treatment, surgical resection or embolisation using a different embolisation device.
Data collection and analysis: Studies identified for potential inclusion were independently assessed for eligibility by two authors, with excluded studies further checked by a third author. No trials were identified for inclusion in the review and hence no analysis was performed.
Main results: There were no randomised controlled trials identified.
Authors' conclusions: There is no evidence from randomised controlled trials for embolisation of pulmonary arteriovenous malformations. However, randomised controlled trials are not always feasible on ethical grounds. Accumulated data from observational studies suggest that embolisation reduces morbidity. A standardised approach to reporting with long-term follow-up through registry studies can help to strengthen the evidence for embolisation in the absence of randomised controlled trials.