Medical treatment of uterine arteriovenous malformation: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Fertil Steril. 2021 Oct;116(4):1107-1116. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2021.05.095. Epub 2021 Jun 12.


Objective: To quantify the efficacy of medical management of uterine arteriovenous malformation (AVM) and compare efficacy between different classes of medication. In addition, we evaluated for factors associated with treatment success and pregnancy outcomes after medical management.

Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Setting: Not applicable.

Patient(s): Thirty-two studies representing 121 premenopausal women with medically-treated uterine AVM were identified via database searches of MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science, and cited references.

Intervention(s): Medical treatment with progestins, gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRH-a), methotrexate, combined hormonal contraception , uterotonics, danazol, or combination of the above.

Main outcome measure(s): Primary outcome of treatment success was defined as AVM resolution without subsequent procedural interventions. Secondary outcome was treatment complication (readmission or transfusion).

Result(s): The overall success rate of medical management was 88% (106/121). After adjusting for clustering effects, success rates for progestin (82.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 70.1%-90.4%), GnRH-a (89.3%; 99% CI, 71.4%-96.5%) and methotrexate (90.0%; 99% CI, 55.8%-98.8%) were significantly different from the null hypothesis of 50% success. The agents with the lowest adjusted proportion of complications were progestins (10.0%; 99% CI, 3.3%-26.8%) and GnRH-a (10.7%; 99% CI, 3.5%-28.4%). No clinical factors were found to predict treatment success. Twenty-six subsequent pregnancies are described, with no reported recurrences of AVM.

Conclusion(s): Medical management for uterine AVM is a reasonable approach in a well selected patient. These data should be interpreted in the context of significant publication bias.

Keywords: Fistula; gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist; hemorrhage; methotrexate; progestin; uterine artery embolization.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Arteriovenous Fistula / diagnostic imaging
  • Arteriovenous Fistula / drug therapy*
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Patient Readmission
  • Patient Selection
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Uterine Artery / abnormalities*
  • Uterine Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Uterus / blood supply*