Long-Term Risks of Hemorrhage and Adverse Radiation Effects of Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Brain Arteriovenous Malformations

Neurosurgery 90:784–792, 2022

The information about long-term risks of hemorrhage and late adverse radiation effects (AREs) after stereotactic radiosurgery for brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) is lacking.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the long-term risks of hemorrhage and late ARE rates in patients with AVM treated with Gamma Knife surgery (GKS). METHODS: We examined 1249 patients with AVM treated with GKS. The Spetzler–Martin grade was I in 313 patients (25%), II in 394 (32%), III in 458 (37%), and IV/V in 84 (7%). The median treatment volume was 2.5 cm3, and the median marginal dose was 20 Gy.

RESULTS: The median follow-up period was 61 months. The 5- and 10-year nidus obliteration rates were 63% and 82%, respectively. The 5- and 10-year cumulative hemorrhage rates were 7% and 10%, respectively. The annual hemorrhage rate was 1.5% for the first 5 years post-GKS, which decreased to 0.5% thereafter. During the follow-up period, 42 symptomatic cyst formations/ chronic encapsulated hematomas ([CFs/CEHs], 3%) and 3 radiation-induced tumors (0.2%) were observed. The 10- and 15-year cumulative CF/CEH rates were 3.7% and 9.4%, respectively.

CONCLUSION: GKS is associated with reduced hemorrhage risk and high nidus obliteration rates in patients with AVM. The incidence of late AREs tended to increase over time. The most common ARE was CF/CEH, which can be safely removed; however, careful attention should be paid to the long-term development of fatal radiation-induced tumors.

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