Chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) is a common neurosurgical condition with a high risk of recurrence after treatment.
To assess and compare the risk of recurrence, morbidity, and mortality across various treatments for CSDH.
A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed. PubMed/MEDLINE, EMBASE, SCOPUS, and Web of Science were searched from January 01, 2000, to July 07, 2021. The primary outcome was recurrence, and secondary outcomes were morbidity and mortality. Component network meta-analyses (CNMAs) were performed for surgical and medical treatments, assessing recurrence and morbidity. Incremental risk ratios (iRRs) with 95% CIs were estimated for each component.
In total, 12 526 citations were identified, and 455 studies with 103 645 cases were included. Recurrence occurred in 11 491/93 525 (10.8%, 95% CI 10.2-11.5, 418 studies) cases after surgery. The use of a postoperative drain (iRR 0.53, 95% CI 0.44-0.63) and middle meningeal artery embolization (iRR 0.19, 95% CI 0.05-0.83) reduced recurrence in the surgical CNMA. In the pharmacological CNMA, corticosteroids (iRR 0.47, 95% CI 0.36-0.61) and surgical intervention (iRR 0.11, 95% CI 0.07-0.15) were associated with lower risk. Corticosteroids were associated with increased morbidity (iRR 1.34, 95% CI 1.05-1.70). The risk of morbidity was equivalent across surgical treatments.
Recurrence after evacuation occurs in approximately 10% of cSDHs, and the various surgical interventions are approximately equivalent. Corticosteroids are associated with reduced recurrence but also increased morbidity. Drains reduce the risk of recurrence, but the position of drain (subdural vs subgaleal) did not influence recurrence. Middle meningeal artery embolization is a promising treatment warranting further evaluation in randomized trials.