Middle meningeal artery (MMA) embolization is a promising treatment strategy for chronic subdural hematomas (cSDHs). However, studies comparing MMA embolization and conventional therapy (surgical intervention and conservative management) are limited. The authors aimed to compare MMA embolization versus conventional therapy for cSDHs using a propensity-adjusted analysis.
A retrospective study of all patients with cSDH who presented to a large tertiary center over a 2-year period was performed. MMA embolization was compared with surgical intervention and conservative management. Neurological outcome was assessed using the modified Rankin Scale (mRS). A propensity-adjusted analysis compared MMA embolization versus surgery and conservative management for all individual cSDHs. Primary outcomes included change in hematoma diameter, treatment failure, and complete resolution at last follow-up.
A total of 231 patients with cSDH met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 35 (15%) were treated using MMA embolization, and 196 (85%) were treated with conventional treatment. On the latest follow-up, there were no statistically significant differences between groups in the percentage of patients with worsening mRS scores. Of the 323 total cSDHs found in 231 patients, 41 (13%) were treated with MMA embolization, 159 (49%) were treated conservatively, and 123 (38%) were treated with surgical evacuation. After propensity adjustment, both surgery (OR 12, 95% CI 1.5–90; p = 0.02) and conservative therapy (OR 13, 95% CI 1.7–99; p = 0.01) were predictors of treatment failure and incomplete resolution on follow-up imaging (OR 6.1, 95% CI 2.8–13; p < 0.001 and OR 5.4, 95% CI 2.5–12; p < 0.001, respectively) when compared with MMA embolization. Additionally, MMA embolization was associated with a significant decrease in cSDH diameter on follow-up relative to conservative management (mean −8.3 mm, 95% CI −10.4 to −6.3 mm, p < 0.001).
This propensity-adjusted analysis suggests that MMA embolization for cSDH is associated with a greater extent of hematoma volume reduction with fewer treatment failures than conventional therapy.