Embolization of brain arteriovenous malformations with intent to cure: a systematic review

J Neurosurg 132:388–399, 2020

Endovascular embolization has been established as an adjuvant treatment strategy for brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). A growing body of literature has discussed curative embolization for select lesions. The transition of endovascular embolization from an adjunctive to a definitive treatment modality remains controversial. Here, the authors reviewed the literature to assess the lesional characteristics, technical factors, and angiographic and clinical outcomes of endovascular embolization of AVMs with intent to cure.

METHODS Electronic databases—Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, and PubMed—were searched for studies in which there was evidence of AVMs treated using endovascular embolization with intent to cure. The primary outcomes of interest were angiographic obliteration immediately postembolization and at follow-up. The secondary outcomes of interest were complication rates. Descriptive statistics were used to calculate rates and means.

RESULTS Fifteen studies with 597 patients and 598 AVMs treated with intent-to-cure embolization were included in this analysis. Thirty-four percent of AVMs were Spetzler-Martin grade III. Complete obliteration immediately postembolization was reported in 58.3% of AVMs that had complete treatment and in 45.8% of AVMs in the entire patient cohort. The overall clinical complication rate was 24.1%. The most common complication was hemorrhage, occurring in 9.7% of patients. Procedure-related mortality was 1.5%.

CONCLUSIONS While endovascular embolization with intent to cure can be an option for select AVMs, the reported complication rates appear to be increased compared with those in studies in which adjunctive embolization was the goal. Given the high complication rate related to a primary embolization approach, the risks and benefits of such a treatment strategy should be discussed among a multidisciplinary team. Curative embolization of AVMs should be considered an unanticipated benefit of such therapy rather than a goal.


Characteristics of Unruptured Compared to Ruptured Intracranial Aneurysms: A Multicenter Case–Control Study

Neurosurgery 83:43–52, 2018

Only a minority of intracranial aneurysms rupture to cause subarachnoid hemorrhage.

OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that unruptured aneurysms have different characteristics and risk factor profiles compared to ruptured aneurysms.

METHODS: We recruited patients with unruptured aneurysms or aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhages at 22 UK hospitals between 2011 and 2014. Demographic, clinical, and imaging data were collected using standardized case report forms. We compared risk factors using multivariable logistic regression.

RESULTS: A total of 2334 patients (1729 with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, 605 with unruptured aneurysms) were included (mean age 54.22 yr). In multivariable analyses, the following variables were independently associated with rupture status: black ethnicity (odds ratio [OR] 2.42; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.29-4.56, compared to white) and aneurysm location (anterior cerebral artery/anterior communicating artery [OR 3.21; 95% CI 2.34-4.40], posterior communicating artery [OR 3.92; 95% CI 2.67-5.74], or posterior circulation [OR 3.12; 95% CI 2.08-4.70], compared to middle cerebral artery). The following variables were inversely associated with rupture status: antihypertensive medication (OR 0.65; 95% CI 0.49-0.84), hypercholesterolemia (0.64 OR; 95% CI 0.48-0.85), aspirin use (OR 0.28; 95% CI 0.20-0.40), internal carotid artery location (OR 0.53; 95% CI 0.38-0.75), and aneurysm size (per mm increase; OR 0.76; 95% CI 0.69-0.84).

CONCLUSION: We show substantial differences in patient and aneurysm characteristics between ruptured and unruptured aneurysms. These findings support the hypothesis that different pathological mechanisms are involved in the formation of ruptured aneurysms and incidentally detected unruptured aneurysms. The potential protective effect of aspirin might justify randomized prevention trials in patients with unruptured aneurysms.


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