Neurosurgery Blog


Daily bibliographic review of the Neurosurgery Department. La Fe University Hospital. Valencia, Spain

Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Brainstem Arteriovenous Malformations

Neurosurgery 81:910–920, 2017

The management of brainstem arteriovenous malformations (bAVMs) is a formidable challenge. bAVMs harbor higher morbidity and mortality compared to other locations.

OBJECTIVE: To review the outcomes following stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) of bAVMs in a multicenter study.

METHODS: Six medical centers contributed data from 205 patients through the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation. Median age was 32 yr (6-81). Median nidus volume was 1.4 mL (0.1-69 mL). Favorable outcome (FO) was defined as AVM obliteration and no post-treatment hemorrhage or permanent symptomatic radiation-induced complications.

RESULTS: Overall obliteration was reported in 65.4% (n = 134) at a mean follow-up of 69 mo. Obliteration was angiographically proven in 53.2% (n = 109) and on MRA in 12.2% (n=25). Actuarial rate of obliteration at 2, 3, 5, 7, and 10 yr after SRS was 24.5%, 43.3%, 62.3%, 73%, and 81.8% respectively. Patients treated with a margin dose >20 Gy were more likely to achieve obliteration (P = .001). Obliteration occurred earlier in patients who received a higher prescribed margin dose (P = .05) and maximum dose (P = .041). Post-SRS hemorrhage occurred in 8.8% (n = 18). Annual post gamma knife latency period hemorrhage was 1.5%. Radiation-induced complications were radiologically evident in 35.6% (n = 73), symptomatic in 14.6% (n=30), and permanent in 14.6% (n=30, which included long-tract signs and new cranial nerve deficits). FO was achieved in 64.4% (n = 132). Predictors of an FO were a higher Virginia radiosurgery AVM scale score (P = .003), prior hemorrhage (P = .045), and a lower prescribed maximum dose (P = .006).

CONCLUSION: SRS for bAVMs results in obliteration and avoids permanent complications in the majority of patients.

Endoscope-assisted transsphenoidal puncture of the cavernous sinus for embolization of carotid-cavernous fistula

J Neurosurg 127:327–331, 2017

Endovascular embolization is the treatment of choice for carotid-cavernous fistulas (CCFs), but failure to catheterize the cavernous sinus may occur as a result of vessel tortuosity, hypoplasia, or stenosis. In addition to conventional transvenous or transarterial routes, alternative approaches should be considered. The authors present a case in which a straightforward route to the CCF was accessed via transsphenoidal puncture of the cavernous sinus in a neurosurgical hybrid operating suite.

This 82-year-old man presented with severe chemosis and proptosis of the right eye. Digital subtraction angiography revealed a Type B CCF with a feeding artery arising from the meningohypophyseal trunk of the right cavernous segment of the internal carotid artery. The CCF drained through a thrombosed right superior ophthalmic vein that ended deep in the orbit; there were no patent sinuses or venous plexuses connecting to the CCF. An endoscope-assisted transsphenoidal puncture created direct access to the nidus for embolization. Embolic agents were deployed through the puncture needle to achieve complete obliteration.

Endoscope-assisted transsphenoidal puncture of the cavernous sinus is a feasible alternative to treat difficult-to-access CCFs in a neurosurgical hybrid operating suite.


Results of the ANSWER Trial Using the PulseRider for the Treatment of Broad-Necked, Bifurcation Aneurysms

Neurosurgery 81:56–65, 2017

The safety and probable benefit of the PulseRider (Pulsar Vascular, Los Gatos, California) for the treatment of broad-necked, bifurcation aneurysms was studied in the context of the prospective, nonrandomized, single arm clinical trial— the Adjunctive Neurovascular Support of Wide-neck aneurysm Embolization and Reconstruction (ANSWER) Trial.

OBJECTIVE: To present the results of the United States cases employing the PulseRider device as part of the ANSWER clinical trial.

METHODS: Aneurysms treated with the PulseRider device among sites enrolling in the ANSWER trial were prospectively studied and the results are summarized. Aneurysms arising at either the carotid terminus or basilar apex thatwere relatively broad neckedwere considered candidates for inclusion into the ANSWER study.

RESULTS: Thirty-four patients were enrolled (29 female and 5 male) with a mean age of 60.9 years (27 basilar apex and 7 carotid terminus).Mean aneurysm height ranged from 2.4 to 15.9 mm with a mean neck size of 5.2 mm (range 2.3-11.6 mm). In all patients, the device was delivered and deployed. Immediate Raymond I or II occlusion was achieved in 82.4% and progressed to 87.9% at 6-month follow-up. A modified Rankin Score of 2 or less was seen in 94% of patients at 6 months.

CONCLUSION: The results from the ANSWER trial demonstrate that the PulseRider device is safe and offers probable benefit as for the treatment of bifurcation aneurysms arising at the basilar apex or carotid terminus. As such, it represents a useful addition to the armamentarium of the neuroendovascular specialist.

Staged-Volume Radiosurgery of Large Arteriovenous Malformations Improves Outcome by Reducing the Rate of Adverse Radiation Effects

Neurosurgery 80:180–192, 2017

The treatment of large arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) remains challenging. Recently, staged-volume radiosurgery (SVRS) has become an option.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the outcome of SVRS on large AVMs with our historical, single- stage radiosurgery (SSRS) series.

METHODS: We have been prospectively collecting data of patients treated by SVRS since 2007. There were 84 patients who had a median age of 37 years (range, 9-62 years) who were treated until July 2013. The outcomes of 76 of those who had follow-ups available were analyzed and compared with the outcomes of 122 patients treated with the best SSRS technique.

RESULTS: There were 21.5% of AVMs that were deep seated, and 44% presented with hemorrhage resulting in 45% fixed neurological deficit. There were 14% of patients who had undergone embolization before radiosurgery. The median nidus treatment volume was 19.7 cm 3 (6.65-68.7) and 17.5 Gy (13-22.5) prescription isodose was given. Of the 44 lesions having radiological follow-up at 4 years, 61.4% were completely obliterated. Previous embolization (50% with and 63% without) and higher Spetzler-Martin grades appeared to be the negative factors in successful obliteration, but treatment volume was not. Within 3 years after radiosurgery, the annual bleed rates of unruptured and previously ruptured AVMs were 3.2% and 5.6%, respectively. Three bleeds were fatal and 2 resulted in significant modified Rankin scale 3 morbidity. These rates differ little from SSRS. Temporary adverse radiation effects (AREs) did not change significantly, but permanent AREs dropped from 15% to 6.5% (P = .03) compared with SSRS.

CONCLUSION: Obliteration and hemorrhage rates of large AVMs treated by SVRS are similar to historical SSRS. However, SVRS offers a lower rate of AREs.


Hydrocephalus in vein of Galen malformation: etiologies and therapeutic management implications

Hydrocephalus in vein of Galen malformation

Acta Neurochir (2016) 158:1279–1284

Up to now, only little is known about hydrocephalus (HC) in vein of Galen malformation (VGM).We want to present the different etiologies and our long-term experience (1992–2015) in the management of HC.

Methods Out of 44 treated children with VGM, we retrospectively reviewed all cases with HC.We analyzed the etiologies, our treatment results and complications.

Results Twenty-one children (48 %) presented either with HC or developed it over time. In 21% of those cases, high venous pressure was presumably the sole cause. Until 2009, seven of them received ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunting; six of those resulted in severe postoperative complications. The remaining children have been treated successfully by endovascular embolization. Five out of the 44 children (11 %) developed HC after intraventricular hemorrhage. In four cases, those children were treated with positive results by using transient external ventricular drainages. In one case a VP shunt with highest valve pressure was inserted. Another four children (9 %) presented with aqueductal stenosis-related HC caused by either dilated venous outflow or space-occupying coil masses after embolization. The latter case was successfully treated by ventriculocisternostomy, whereas endovascular treatment decreased the venous outflow in size and thus resolved the HC in the other cases. In the remaining cases (7 %), atrophy due to melting brain syndrome led to HC ex vacuo.

Conclusions HC in VGM is a common phenomenon with several etiologies requiring different treatments. In most cases, embolization of the VGM as sole treatment is completely sufficient in order to decrease high venous pressure. However, certain other causes of HC should be treated in an interdisciplinary setting by specialized neurosurgeons.

Recurrence of Cerebral Arteriovenous Malformations Following Resection in Adults: Does Preoperative Embolization Increase the Risk?

Recurrence of Cerebral Arteriovenous Malformations Following Resection in Adults- Does Preoperative Embolization Increase the Risk?

Neurosurgery 78:562–571, 2016

Complete surgical resection of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), documented by postoperative angiography, is generally felt to represent cure, obviating the need for long-term follow-up imaging. Although AVM recurrence has been reported in the pediatric population, this phenomenon has only rarely been documented in adults. Recurrence after treatment solely with embolization, however, has been reported more frequently. Thus, patients undergoing multimodal therapy with surgery following preoperative embolization may also be at higher risk for recurrence.

OBJECTIVE: To determine if preoperative embolization contributes to recurrences of AVMs after complete surgical resection.

METHODS: A retrospective study of patients undergoing AVM resection was performed. Those with complete surgical AVM resection, confirmed by negative early postoperative cerebral angiography and with available follow-up angiographic imaging .6 months postoperatively were included.

RESULTS: Two hundred three patients underwent AVM resection between 1995 and 2012. Seventy-two patients met eligibility criteria. There were 3 recurrences (4%). Deep venous drainage and diffuse type of AVM nidus were significantly associated with recurrence. Although preoperative embolization did not reach statistical significance as an independent risk factor, radiographic data supported its role in every case, with the site of recurrence correlating with deep regions of nidus previously obliterated by embolization.

CONCLUSION: AVM recurrences in the adult population may have a multifactorial origin. Although deep venous drainage and diffuse nidus are clearly risk factors, preoperative embolization may also be a contributing factor with the potential for recurrence of unresected but embolized portions of the AVM. Follow-up angiography at 1 to 3 years appears to be warranted.

Long-term outcomes after surgical and endovascular treatment of spinal dural arteriovenous fistulae


Eur Spine J (2016) 25:748–754

To examine the validity of our treatment strategy for spinal dural arteriovenous fistulae (SDAVF), based on the treatment results and the long-term outcome.

Methods This study included 50 SDAVF patients (38 men, 12 women, mean age 63.2 years) with progressive myelopathy. The treatment strategy involved embolization as the initial management tool and surgery if embolization was considered unsuitable. Their medical records were evaluated to identify the treatment results and functional outcomes. The mean follow-up period was 81.2 months (range 27–184 months).

Results Complete obliteration was achieved in 22 (71.0 %) of 31 embolized patients and in 18 of 19 (94.7 %) operated patients. The initial success rate was significantly lower in embolized than operated patients. At the last follow-up, 33 of the 50 patients (66 %) manifested im- proved gait and 16 (32 %) improved micturition. The ac- tivity of daily living (ADL) was improved in 33 (66 %). When we compared the rates of functional improvement at the last follow-up, there was no significant difference be- tween patients treated initially by embolization or surgery.

Conclusions The long-term outcomes in SDAVF patients treated by multidisciplinary management with first-line embolization were comparable to those in earlier surgical series. However, our results were unable to demonstrate the superiority of endovascular embolization to surgical treatment for SDAVF. For the purpose of justifying endovascular embolization as a first-line treatment for SDAVF, it will be necessary to show further improvement in both the initial treatment success and the complication rates.

Endovascular Management of Deep Arteriovenous Malformations

Endovascular management AVM

Neurosurgery 78:34–41, 2016

The management of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) in the basal ganglia, insula, and thalamus is demanding for all treatment modalities.

OBJECTIVE: To define safety and outcomes of embolization used as a stand-alone therapy for deep-seated AVMs.

METHODS: A cohort of 22 patients with AVMs located in the basal ganglia, thalamus, and insula who underwent embolization between January 2008 and December 2013.

RESULTS: Eighteen of 22 (82%) patients had anatomic exclusion. The mean size was 2.98 6 1.28 cm, and the mean number of sessions was 2.1 per patient. Most patients presented with hemorrhage (82%, n = 18), and 3 (14%) patients were in a deteriorated neurological status (modified Rankin Scale .2) at presentation. Sixty-eight percent of ruptured AVMs had size #3 cm. A single transarterial approach was performed in 9 (41%) cases, double catheterization was used in 4 (18%), and the transvenous approach was required in 8 (36%) cases. Procedure-related complications were registered in 3 (14%) cases. One death was associated with treatment, and complementary radiosurgery was required in 2 (9%) patients.

CONCLUSION: Embolization therapy appears to be safe and potentially curative for certain deep AVMs. Our results demonstrate a high percentage of anatomic obliteration with rates of complications that may approach radiosurgery profile. In particular, embolization as stand-alone therapy is most suitable to deep AVMs with small nidus size (#3 cm) and/or associated with single venous drainage in which microsurgery might not be indicated.

Safety and Efficacy of Surgical Resection of Unruptured Low-grade Arteriovenous Malformations From the Modern Decade


Neurosurgery 77:948–953, 2015

Recent studies have questioned the utility of surgical resection of unruptured brain arteriovenous malformations (bAVMs).

OBJECTIVE: We performed an assessment of outcomes and complications of surgical resection of low-grade bAVMs (Spetzler-Martin grade I or II) at a single high-volume neurosurgical center.

METHODS: We reviewed all unruptured low-grade bAVMs treated with surgery (with or without preoperative embolization) between January 2004 and January 2014. Stroke rate, mortality, and clinical and radiographic outcomes were examined.

RESULTS: Of 95 patients treated surgically, 85 (25 grade I, 60 grade II) met inclusion criteria, and all achieved radiographic cure postoperatively. Ten patients (11.8%) were lost to follow-up; the mean follow-up of the remaining 85 was 3.3 years. Three patients (3.5%) with grade II bAVMs experienced a stroke; no patients died. Although 20 patients (23.5%) had temporary postoperative neurological deficit, only 3 (3.5%) had new clinical impairment (modified Rankin Scale score $2) at last follow-up. Eight of the 13 patients (61.5%) with preexisting clinical impairment had improved modified Rankin Scale scores of 0 or 1; and 17 of 30 patients (56.7%) with preoperative seizures were seizure-free without antiepileptic medication postoperatively. No significant differences existed in stroke rate or clinical outcome between grades I and II patients at follow-up (Fisher exact test, P = .55 and P . .99, respectively).

CONCLUSION: Surgical resection of low-grade unruptured bAVMs is safe, with a high rate of improvement in functional status and seizure reduction. Although transient postoperative neurological deficit was observed in some patients, permanent treatment- related neurological morbidity was rare.

Effect of Prior Embolization on Cerebral Arteriovenous Malformation Radiosurgery Outcomes


Neurosurgery 77:406–417, 2015

Embolization before stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVM) has been shown to negatively affect obliteration rates, but its impact on the risks of radiosurgery-induced complications and latency period hemorrhage is poorly defined.

OBJECTIVE: To determine, in a case-control study, the effect of prior embolization on AVM SRS outcomes.

METHODS: We evaluated a database of AVM patients who underwent SRS. Propensity score analysis was used to match the case (embolized nidi) and control (nonembolized nidi) cohorts. AVM angioarchitectural complexity was defined as the sum of the number of major feeding arteries and draining veins to the nidus. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression analyses were performed on the overall study population to determine independent predictors of obliteration and radiation-induced changes.

RESULTS: The matching process yielded 242 patients in each cohort. The actuarial obliteration rates were significantly lower in the embolized (31%, 49% at 5, 10 years, respectively) compared with the nonembolized (48%, 64% at 5, 10 years, respectively) cohort (P = .003). In the multivariate analysis for obliteration, lower angioarchitectural complexity (P , .001) and radiologically evident radiation-induced changes (P = .016) were independent predictors, but embolization was not significant (P = .744). In the multivariate analysis for radiologic radiation-induced changes, lack of prior embolization (P = .009) and fewer draining veins (P = .011) were independent predictors.

CONCLUSION: The effect of prior embolization on AVM obliteration after SRS may be significantly confounded by nidus angioarchitectural complexity. Additionally, embolization could reduce the risk of radiation-induced changes. Thus, combined embolization and SRS may be warranted for appropriately selected nidi.

Microsurgery for cerebral arteriovenous malformations: postoperative outcomes and predictors of complications in 264 cases


Neurosurg Focus 37 (3):E10, 2014

The authors conducted a study to assess the safety and efficacy of microsurgical resection of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and determine predictors of complications.

Methods. A total of 264 patients with cerebral AVMs were treated with microsurgical resection between 1994 and 2010 at the Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience. A review of patient data was performed, including initial hemorrhage, clinical presentation, Spetzler-Martin (SM) grade, treatment modalities, clinical outcomes, and obliteration rates. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to determine predictors of operative complications.

Results. Of the 264 patients treated with microsurgery, 120 (45%) patients initially presented with hemorrhage. There were 27 SM Grade I lesions (10.2%), 101 Grade II lesions (38.3%), 96 Grade III lesions (36.4%), 31 Grade IV lesions (11.7%), and 9 Grade V lesions (3.4%). Among these patients, 102 (38.6%) had undergone prior endovascular embolization. In all patients, resection resulted in complete obliteration of the AVM. Complications occurred in 19 (7.2%) patients and resulted in permanent neurological deficits in 5 (1.9%). In multivariate analysis, predictors of complications were increasing AVM size (OR 3.2, 95% CI 1.5–6.6; p = 0.001), increasing number of embolizations (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1–2.2; p = 0.01), and unruptured AVMs (OR 2.7, 95% CI 1–7.2; p = 0.05).

Conclusions. Microsurgical resection of AVMs is highly efficient and can be undertaken with low rates of morbidity at high-volume neurovascular centers. Unruptured and larger AVMs were associated with higher complication rates.

Recovery from oculomotor nerve palsy due to posterior communicating artery aneurysms: results after clipping versus coiling in a single-center series

Recovery from oculomotor nerve palsy due to posterior communicating artery aneurysms- results after clipping versus coiling in a single-center series

Acta Neurochir (2014) 156:879–884

Oculomotor nerve palsy (ONP) is a common clinical manifestation of ruptured or unruptured posterior communicating artery (PcomA) aneurysms. Although microsurgical clip ligation has been proven a safe and durable treatment, endovascular management is emerging as an increasingly popular alternative. The aim of our study is to compare the recovery rate from ONP and assess the safety and long-term durability of both techniques.

Methods We have reviewed the retrospective data concerning twenty-two patients treated at our institution between 2004 and 2012 for PcomA aneurysms with ONP. Seven patients were operated on via a standard pterional approach, and fourteen were treated by endovascular occlusion with coils. One patient was managed conservatively. Pre-treatment and post-treatment severity of ONP was recorded, as well as the duration of symptoms before admission and treatment-related complications.

Results All seven patients who underwent surgery improved, with six total recoveries and one partial recovery. Among the fourteen patients treated by embolization, thirteen initially recovered, but long-term follow-up revealed three cases of exacerbation of ONP after refilling of the aneurysms. Two of them were clipped, and one embolized. Also, one partially resolved patient underwent a second embolization. No severe complications occurred in either group.

Conclusions Despite the small number of patients, our study suggests that both surgical clipping and embolization are safe and effective methods in regards to functional recovery (complete ONP recovery in about 85 % of the cases). However, coiling may lead to delayed recurrence of third cranial nerve (CN) palsy at long-term follow-up, requiring additional treatment. Keywords

Spinal juvenile (Type III) extradural-intradural arteriovenous malformations

Spinal extradural-intradural AVMs

 J Neurosurg Spine 20:452–458, 2014

Owing to their rarity, demographics, natural history, and treatment, results for spinal juvenile (Type III) extradural-intradural arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are frequently only provided in case report format.

Methods. A pooled analysis was performed utilizing the PubMed database through April 2013. Individualized patient data were extracted to elucidate demographics, hemorrhage risk, and treatment result information.

Results. Twenty-nine studies describing 51 patients were included. The mean age at presentation was 15.0 ± 10.5 years with a slight male predilection (63%, 1.7:1 sex ratio). Presentation modality included progressive deficits in 35%, hemorrhage in 31%, acute deficits not attributed to hemorrhage in 22%, and asymptomatic/incidental in 12% of patients. The annual hemorrhage rate was 2.1%; statistically significant risk factors for hemorrhage included presentation age (HR 0.39 [95% CI 0.18–0.87]) and associated aneurysms (HR 8.74 [95% CI 1.76–43.31]). Seventy-seven percent of patients underwent treatment; after a mean follow-up of 2.6 ± 3.2 years, 73% were improved, 10% were the same, and 17% were worse neurologically. Of 25 cases with described angiographic results, 8 lesions were obliterated (32%). Of these 25 patients, 8 had AVMs with associated aneurysms, and the aneurysm was obliterated in all 8 patients. Over the course of 57.9 patient-years of follow-up, including 55.3 patient-years for partially treated AVMs, no hemorrhages were described, reflecting a trend toward protection from hemorrhage after treatment (p = 0.12, likelihood ratio test).

Conclusions. Spinal juvenile (Type III) extradural-intradural AVMs commonly present symptomatically. Associated arterial aneurysms increase their hemorrhage risk, and protection from hemorrhage may be achieved from partial obliteration of these lesions, particularly if targeted toward associated aneurysms.

Spinal extradural arteriovenous fistulas

Spinal extradural arteriovenous fistulas

J Neurosurg Spine 19:582–590, 2013

Our understanding of spinal extradural arteriovenous fistulas (eAVFs) is relatively limited. In this study the authors aimed to provide the demographics, natural history, and treatment results of these rare lesions.

Methods. The authors performed a pooled analysis of data in the PubMed database through December 2012. Individualized patient data were extracted to elucidate demographic, clinical, and angioarchitectural features of spinal eAVFs as well as outcomes following different treatment strategies.

Results. Information on 101 patients was extracted from 63 eligible studies. The mean patient age was 45.9 years, and there was no significant overall sex predilection. Only 3% of the lesions were incidental, whereas 10% occurred in patients who had presented with hemorrhage. None of the 64 patients with at least 1 month of untreated follow-up sustained a hemorrhage over a total of 83.8 patient-years. Patients with lumbosacral eAVFs were significantly older (mean age 58.7 years, p < 0.0001), were significantly more often male (70% male, p = 0.02), had significantly worse presenting Aminoff-Logue motor and bladder scores (p = 0.0008 and < 0.0001, respectively), and had the greatest prevalence of lesions with intradural venous drainage (62% of cases, p < 0.0001). Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (30% of cases, p < 0.0001) and subarachnoid hemorrhage (9% of cases, p = 0.06) were associated with and exclusively found in patients with cervical eAVFs. The overall complete obliteration rate was 91%. After a mean follow-up of 1.7 years, the clinical condition was improved in 89% of patients, the same in 9%, and worse in 2%. Obliteration rates and outcome at follow-up did not significantly differ between surgical and endovascular treatment modalities.

Conclusions. Spinal eAVFs are rare lesions with a low risk of hemorrhage; they cause neurological morbidity as a result of mass effect and/or venous hypertension. Their treatment is associated with a high rate of complete obliteration and improvement in preoperative symptoms.

Spinal Pial (Type IV) Arteriovenous Fistulae

Spinal Pial (Type IV) Arteriovenous Fistulae

Neurosurgery 73:141–151, 2013

Demographics, hemorrhage risk, and results of surgical and endovascular treatment of spinal pial (type IV) arteriovenous fistulae (AVFs) across a large patient group have not been previously reported.

OBJECTIVE: To report demographics, hemorrhage rates, and treatment results for these AVFs.

METHODS: We performed a pooled analysis via the PubMed and Embase databases through November 2012. Individualized patient data were extracted and analyzed using Cox proportional hazards regression to obtain hazard ratios for hemorrhage risk factors and pooled for baseline demographics and treatment results.

RESULTS: We extracted information on 213 patients from 28 studies. Only 1% of lesions were incidental; 93% of patients presented with neurologic deficits and 36% with hemorrhage. Patients with type IVa lesions were significantly older (mean age, 46.9 years) and demonstrated a male sex predilection (68% male). Patients with type IVc lesions were significantly younger (mean age, 18.7 years), had no sex predilection, and had the highest prevalence of syndromic conditions (29% of cases). The annual hemorrhage rate was 2.5% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.4%-4.7%), increasing to 5.6% for hemorrhagic fistulae (95% CI: 3.0%-10.7%; hazard ratio: 6.31; 95% CI: 0.69-57.4; P = .10). Patient sex, fistula location, and fistula subclass were not significant risk factors for hemorrhage. The surgical obliteration rate was 88%; 68% of patients improved, 26% were the same, and 6% were worse. The endovascular obliteration rate was 74%; 75% of patients improved, 14% were the same, and 11% were worse.

CONCLUSION: We demonstrate the utility of the Anson-Spetzler a-c subclassification and underscore the efficacy of surgical and endovascular spinal AVF treatment.

The failure of preoperative ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer embolization to improve outcomes in arteriovenous malformation management: case series


J Neurosurg 118:969–977, 2013

Ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer embolization is increasingly used preoperatively in the resection of brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). However, the case for embolization improving the outcome of resection has not been evaluated. In this paper the authors set out to compare outcomes after surgery for brain AVMs in 2 consecutive periods of practice. In the first period, selective embolization was used without the use of ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer. In the second period, selective embolization with ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer was performed.

Methods. A consecutive case series (prospectively collected data) was retrospectively analyzed. Adverse outcomes were considered to be an outcome modified Rankin Scale score greater than 2 due to embolization or surgery.

Results. A total of 538 surgical cases were included. The percentages of adverse outcomes were as follows: 0.34% for Spetzler-Martin AVMs less than Grade III (1 of 297 cases); 5.23% (95% CI 2.64%–9.78%) for Grade III AVMs (9 of 172 cases); and 17% (95% CI 10%–28%) for AVMs greater than Grade III (12 of 69 cases). There was no improvement in outcomes from the first period to the second period. The adverse outcome for Grade III brain AVMs in the first period was 5.2% (7 of 135 cases) and in the second period (after ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer was introduced) it was 5.4% (2 of 37 cases). For AVMs greater than Grade III, the adverse outcome was 12% (6 of 49 cases) in the first period and 30% (6 of 20 cases) in the second period.

Conclusions. Outcomes for brain AVM surgery were not improved by ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer embolization. Preoperative embolization of high-grade AVMs with an ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer did not prevent those hemorrhagic complications which embolization is hypothesized to prevent based on theoretical speculations but not demonstrated in practice.

Characteristics and long-term outcome of 251 patients with dural arteriovenous fistulas in a defined population


J Neurosurg 118:923–934, 2013

Management of dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) has changed during the last decades due to increased knowledge of their pathophysiology and natural history as well as advances in treatment modalities. The authors describe the characteristics and long-term outcome of a large consecutive series of patients with DAVFs.

Methods. Altogether 251 patients with 261 DAVFs were treated in 2 of the 5 neurosurgery departments at Helsinki and Kuopio University Hospitals between 1944 and 2006. Clinical data and radiological examinations were reviewed to assess patients’ overall long-term clinical outcome.

Results. The detection rate of DAVFs increased markedly in the 1970s and again in the 1990s when digital subtraction angiography was introduced. The incidence of DAVFs in a defined southern Finnish population was 0.51 per 100,000 individuals per year, which represents 32% of all the brain arteriovenous malformations. In the early part of the series, DAVFs were treated by proximal ligation of the feeding arteries. Later, most of the patients underwent preoperative embolization and subsequent craniotomy, and since 2000 stereotactic radiosurgery has been increasingly used in the treatment of DAVFs. Fifty-nine percent of the 261 fistulas were totally occluded. Treatment-related major complications were seen in 21 patients.

Conclusions. The advances in diagnostic methods (digital subtraction angiography, CT, and MRI) increased the detection rate of DAVFs, and as treatment modalities developed, the results of treatment and outcome of patients markedly improved with the introduction of endovascular techniques and stereotactic radiosurgery. Microsurgery is of limited use in DAVFs resistant to other treatment modalities.

Spinal Glomus (Type II) Arteriovenous Malformations

Spinal Glomus (Type II) AVM

Neurosurgery 72:25–32, 2013

The natural history and treatment results for spinal glomus (type II) arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) remain relatively obscure.

OBJECTIVE: To calculate spinal glomus (type II) AVM hemorrhages rates and amalgamate results of intervention.

METHODS: We performed a pooled analysis via the PubMed database through May 2012, including studies with at least 3 cases. Data on individual patients were extracted and analyzed using a Cox proportional hazards regression model to obtain hazard ratios for hemorrhage risk factors.

RESULTS: The annual hemorrhage rate before treatment was 4% (95% confidence interval [confidence interval]: 3%-6%), increasing to 10% (95% CI: 7%-16%) for AVMs with previous hemorrhage. The hazard ratio for hemorrhage after hemorrhagic presentation was 2.25 (95% CI: 0.71-7.07), increasing to 13.0 within the first 10 years (95% CI: 1.44-118). The overall rates of complete obliteration were 78% (95% CI: 72%-83%) for surgery and 33% (95% CI: 24%-43%) for endovascular treatment. Long-term clinical worsening occurred in 12% of patients after surgical treatment (95% CI: 8%-16%) and in 13% after endovascular treatment (95% CI: 7%-21%). No hemorrhages occurred after complete obliteration. After partial surgical treatment, the annual hemorrhage rate was 3% (95% CI: 1%-6%); no hemorrhages were reported over 196 patient-years after partial endovascular treatment.

CONCLUSION: Spinal glomus (type II) AVMs with previous hemorrhage, particularly within 10 years, demonstrated a greater risk of hemorrhage. Complete obliteration and even partial endovascular treatment significantly decreased their hemorrhage rate.


Stereotactic radiosurgery after embolization for AVMs

J Neurosurg 117:265–275, 2012

In this paper the authors’ goal was to define the long-term benefits and risks of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for patients with arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) who underwent prior embolization.

Methods. Between 1987 and 2006, the authors performed Gamma Knife surgery in 996 patients with brain AVMs; 120 patients underwent embolization followed by SRS. In this series, 64 patients (53%) had at least one prior hemorrhage. The median number of embolizations varied from 1 to 5. The median target volume was 6.6 cm3 (range 0.2–26.3 cm3). The median margin dose was 18 Gy (range 13.5–25 Gy).

Results. After embolization, 25 patients (21%) developed symptomatic neurological deficits. The overall rates of total obliteration documented by either angiography or MRI were 35%, 53%, 55%, and 59% at 3, 4, 5, and 10 years, respectively. Factors associated with a higher rate of AVM obliteration were smaller target volume, smaller maximum diameter, higher margin dose, timing of embolization during the most recent 10-year period (1997–2006), and lower Pollock-Flickinger score. Nine patients (8%) had a hemorrhage during the latency period, and 7 patients died of hemorrhage. The actuarial rates of AVM hemorrhage after SRS were 0.8%, 3.5%, 5.4%, 7.7%, and 7.7% at 1, 2, 3, 5, and 10 years, respectively. The overall annual hemorrhage rate was 2.7%. Factors associated with a higher risk of hemorrhage after SRS were a larger target volume and a larger number of prior hemorrhages. Permanent neurological deficits due to adverse radiation effects (AREs) developed in 3 patients (2.5%) after SRS, and 1 patient had delayed cyst formation 210 months after SRS. No patient died of AREs. A larger 12-Gy volume was associated with higher risk of symptomatic AREs. Using a case-control matched approach, the authors found that patients who underwent embolization prior to SRS had a lower rate of total obliteration (p = 0.028) than patients who had not undergone embolization.

Conclusions. In this 20-year experience, the authors found that prior embolization reduced the rate of total obliteration after SRS, and that the risks of hemorrhage during the latency period were not affected by prior embolization. For patients who underwent embolization to volumes smaller than 8 cm3, success was significantly improved. A margin dose of 18 Gy or more also improved success. In the future, the role of embolization after SRS should be explored.

Early recurrent hemorrhage after coil embolization in ruptured intracranial aneurysms

Neuroradiology (2012) 54:719–726 DOI 10.1007/s00234-011-0950-3

The authors present a series of patients in whom early rebleeding occurred after coiling for ruptured aneurysms. We investigated the incidence and possible mechanisms of early rebleeding.

Methods This study consisted of 1,167 consecutive patients who underwent coiling for a ruptured saccular aneurysm. Clinical and radiological data were collected retrospectively from three institutions. Early rebleeding was defined as occurrence of further bleeding within 30 days after coiling with worsening of the patient’s condition. We divided early rebleeding into hyperacute, subacute, and delay groups depending on the timing of rebleeding after coil embolization.

Results Incidence of early rebleeding after coiling of a ruptured saccular aneurysm was 1.1% (13 of 1,167), and mortality was 31% (4 of 13) in our series. Out of ten patients in hyperacute group, three (30%) had incomplete occlusion result and six patients (60%) underwent intraarterial (IA) infusion of abciximab or tirofiban during the procedures. Seven patients (70%) had an intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) on initial computed tomography. Four patients died, another four sustained severe disabilities, and the others had good recovery. All three patients in subacute and delay group showed recanalization on post-rebleeding angiography and made an excellent recovery.

Conclusion Early rebleeding was associated with high mortality and morbidity. IA abciximab infusion or thrombolytic interventions during the procedure, maintenance of anticoagulation after the procedure, incomplete treatment of the aneurysms, and presence of ICH seemed to be related to hyperacute early rebleeding after coiling. Increased aneurysmal size and coil compaction could induce subacute and delayed early rebleeding.

Neurosurgery Department. “La Fe” University Hospital. Valencia, Spain


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