Miller WK, Becker KN, Caras AJ, Mansour TR, Mays MT, Rashid M, and Schwalb J. Magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound treatment for essential tremor shows sustained efficacy: a meta-analysis. Neurosurg Rev 2021.
Although magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) is a viable treatment option for essential tremor, some studies note a diminished treatment benefit over time. A PubMed search was performed adhering to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Studies were included if hand tremor scores (HTS), total Clinical Rating Scale for Tremor (CRST) scores, or Quality of Life in Essential Tremor Questionnaire (QUEST) scores at regular intervals following MRgFUS treatment for essential tremor were documented. Data analyses included a random effects model of meta-analysis and mixed-effects model of meta-regression. Twenty-one articles reporting HTS for 395 patients were included. Mean pre-operative HTS was 19.2 ± 5.0. Mean HTS at 3 months post-treatment was 7.4 ± 5.0 (61.5% improvement, p < 0.001). Treatment effect was mildly decreased at 36 months at 9.1 ± 5.4 (8.8% reduction). Meta-regression of time since treatment as a modifier of HTS revealed a downward trend in effect size, though this was not statistically significant (p = 0.208). Only 4 studies included follow-up ≥ 24 months. Thirteen included articles reported total CRST scores with standardized follow-up for 250 patients. Mean pre-operative total CRST score decreased by 46.2% at 3 months post-treatment (p < 0.001). Additionally, mean QUEST scores at 3 months post-treatment significantly improved compared to baseline (p < 0.001). HTS is significantly improved from baseline ≥ 24 months post-treatment and possibly ≥ 48 months post-treatment. There is a current paucity of long-term CRST and QUEST score reporting in the literature.
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