The impact of nTMS mapping on treatment of brain AVMs

Acta Neurochirurgica (2018) 160:567–578

The treatment of brain arteriovenous malformations (BAVMs) is still contrarily discussed. Despite the debatable results of the ARUBA trial, most BAVMs still require treatment depending on the Spetzler-Martin (SM) grading. Since size is measurable and venous drainage is visible, the determination of eloquence is comparably crucial but not fully objective. The present bicentric cohort study aims to examine the influence of preoperative navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS) motor and language mapping data on decision-making for or against surgical treatment of BAVMs.

Methods The influence of data from nTMS on decision-making for or against treatment of BAVMs was examined by confirming/falsifying presumed motor or language eloquence.

Results The results of nTMS mappings changed the SM grading in nine cases. In six cases, the SM grading changed to a lower grade (= falsified eloquence); in three cases, the SM grading changed to a higher grade due to nTMS mappings (= unexpected eloquence). Out of all 34 cases, indication for surgery was supported by nTMS mappings in 15 cases (7 motors, 8 languages). In six cases, the decision against surgery was made based on nTMS mappings (three motors, three languages).

Conclusion In 21 of 34 cases (62%), nTMS was a supportive argument. We could show that nTMS motor and language data can be used for a more objective decision-making regarding the treatment of BAVMs and for a more detailed SM grading regarding the rating of eloquence.