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

In a systematic review of 121 patients (32 studies) treated medically for uterine arteriovenous malformation, the success rate was 88%. Progestins and gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists demonstrated high efficacy with low proportion of complications.

VOLUME 116, ISSUE 4, P1107-1116


Adam Rosen, Wilson Ventura Chan, John Matelski, M.Sc., Chris Walsh, Ally Murji, M.D. M.P.H. 



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.


Systematic review and meta-analysis.


Not applicable.


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.


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).


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.


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.