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How to deal with incompletely treated AVMs: experience of 67 cases and review of the literature

, : How to deal with incompletely treated AVMs: experience of 67 cases and review of the literature. Acta Neurochirurgica. Supplement 112(): 123-129

Despite the availability of multimodal treatment options, some arteriovenous malformations remain difficult to treat, either for intrinsic reasons at initial presentation or for reasons evolving during the course of treatment. Frequently, such cases can be easily resolved with further therapy, but some become a continuously growing treatment dilemma while exhausting dwindling therapeutic options. A retrospective analysis was performed to identify patients with cerebral AVM who were treated unsuccessfully. Treatment was termed "not successful" if (1) postoperative angiography showed a residual AVM or missing flow reduction after palliative embolization, (2) therapy was associated with a substantial deterioration of existing neurological deficits or death, or (3) rebleeding from residual AVM occurred after therapy. Special interest was focused on the angiographic appearance of residual AVMs, their characteristic features, and their follow-up regarding second and third therapies. According to these criteria we identified 46 internal patients from our own series of 474 patients and 21 external patients who were referred from other institutions or sought a second opinion after incomplete treatment elsewhere. Out of those 67 cases, 50 patients (74.6%) were diagnosed with a residual AVM. Eleven patients (16.4%) experienced a deterioration of their clinical condition under therapy. Six patients did not show a flow reduction after palliative embolization. Twenty-five of the 67 patients were readmitted because of an ICH, either originating from an AVM residual or under palliative embolization. Thus, an increased risk of re-hemorrhage was found for palliative embolization (n = 16) in partially treated lesions (n = 10) and in patients with AVM grade IV and V located in eloquent regions (n = 22). In dealing with residual AVMs, microsurgical resection alone or in combination was found to be the most efficient therapeutic option, being successful in 58.9% of cases. An estimated 10% of AVM treatments may fail because of inadequate selection of either patients or management. Besides, for thorough decision-making, angiographic follow-up in all AVM patients is mandatory to allow an early identification of patients with an incompletely treated AVM requiring a second attempt. Major attention should be focused especially on high-risk subgroups with complex AVMs, partially treated AVMs, or those treated by only a palliative regimen.


PMID: 21692000

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-7091-0661-7_22

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