Benign smooth muscle tumours of the uterus, known as fibroids or myomas, are often symptomless. However, about one-third of women with fibroids will present with symptoms that are severe enough to warrant treatment. The standard treatment of symptomatic fibroids is hysterectomy (that is surgical removal of the uterus) for women who have completed childbearing, and myomectomy for women who desire future childbearing or simply want to preserve their uterus. Myomectomy, the surgical removal of myomas, can be associated with life-threatening bleeding. Excessive bleeding can necessitate emergency blood transfusion. Knowledge of the effectiveness of the interventions to reduce bleeding during myomectomy is essential to enable evidence-based clinical decisions. This is an update of the review published in The Cochrane Library (2011, Issue 11).
To assess the effectiveness, safety, tolerability and costs of interventions to reduce blood loss during myomectomy.
In June 2014, we conducted electronic searches in the Cochrane Menstrual Disorders and Subfertility Group Specialised Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL and PsycINFO, and trial registers for ongoing and registered trials.
We selected randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that compared potential interventions to reduce blood loss during myomectomy to placebo or no treatment.
Data collection and analysis
The two authors independently selected RCTs for inclusion, assessed the risk of bias and extracted data from the included RCTs. The primary review outcomes were blood loss and need for blood transfusion. We expressed study results as mean differences (MD) for continuous data and odds ratios for dichotomous data, with 95% confidence intervals (CI). We assessed the quality of evidence using GRADE methods.
Eighteen RCTs with 1250 participants met our inclusion criteria. The studies were conducted in hospital settings in low, middle and high income countries.
We found significant reductions in blood loss with the following interventions:
vaginal misoprostol (2 RCTs, 89 women: MD -97.88 ml, 95% CI -125.52 to -70.24; I2 = 43%; moderate-quality evidence); intramyometrial vasopressin (3 RCTs, 128 women: MD -245.87 ml, 95% CI -434.58 to -57.16; I2 = 98%; moderate-quality evidence); intramyometrial bupivacaine plus epinephrine (1 RCT, 60 women: MD -68.60 ml, 95% CI -93.69 to -43.51; low-quality evidence); intravenous tranexamic acid (1 RCT, 100 women: MD -243 ml, 95% CI -460.02 to -25.98; low-quality evidence); gelatin-thrombin matrix (1 RCT, 50 women: MD -545.00 ml, 95% CI -593.26 to -496.74; low-quality evidence); intravenous ascorbic acid (1 RCT, 102 women: MD -411.46 ml, 95% CI -502.58 to -320.34; low-quality evidence); vaginal dinoprostone (1 RCT, 108 women: MD -131.60 ml, 95% CI -253.42 to -9.78; low-quality evidence); loop ligation of the myoma pseudocapsule (1 RCT, 70 women: MD -305.01 ml, 95% CI -354.83 to -255.19; low-quality evidence); a fibrin sealant patch (1 RCT, 70 women: MD -26.50 ml, 95% CI -44.47 to -8.53; low-quality evidence), a Foley catheter tied around the cervix (1 RCT, 93 women: MD -240.70 ml, 95% CI -359.61 to -121.79; low-quality evidence), and a polyglactin suture round both cervix and infundibulopelvic ligament (1 RCT, 28 women: MD -1870.0 ml, 95% CI -2547.16 to 1192.84; low-quality evidence). There was no good evidence of an effect on blood loss with oxytocin, morcellation or clipping of the uterine artery.
Need for blood transfusion
We found significant reductions in the need for blood transfusion with vasopressin (2 RCTs, 90 women: OR 0.15, 95% CI 0.03 to 0.74; I2 = 0%; moderate-quality evidence); tourniquet tied round the cervix (1 RCT, 98 women: OR 0.22, 95% CI 0.09 to 0.55; low-quality evidence); tourniquet tied round both cervix and infundibulopelvic ligament (1 RCT, 28 women: OR 0.02, 95% CI 0.00 to 0.23; low-quality evidence); gelatin-thrombin matrix (1 RCT, 100 women: OR 0.01, 95% CI 0.00 to 0.10; low-quality evidence) and dinoprostone (1 RCT, 108 women: OR 0.17, 95% CI 0.04 to 0.81; low-quality evidence), but no evidence of effect on the need for blood transfusion with misoprostol, oxytocin, tranexamic acid, ascorbic acid, loop ligation of the myoma pseudocapsule and a fibrin sealant patch.
There were insufficient data on the adverse effects and costs of the different interventions.
At present there is moderate-quality evidence that misoprostol or vasopressin may reduce bleeding during myomectomy, and low-quality evidence that bupivacaine plus epinephrine, tranexamic acid, gelatin-thrombin matrix, ascorbic acid, dinoprostone, loop ligation, a fibrin sealant patch, a peri-cervical tourniquet or a tourniquet tied round both cervix and infundibulopelvic ligament may reduce bleeding during myomectomy. There is no evidence that oxytocin, morcellation and temporary clipping of the uterine artery reduce blood loss. Further well designed studies are required to establish the effectiveness, safety and costs of different interventions for reducing blood loss during myomectomy.