OBJECTIVE: Radiosurgery is accepted as the first option for treating deep arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), although the clinical outcome in this subgroup of brain AVMs is not well studied. The objective of this study is to review our experience with radiosurgical treatment for these AVMs.
METHODS: Between October 1989 and December 2000, 45 patients with deep AVMs (including basal ganglia, internal capsule, and thalamus) underwent stereotactic radiosurgery. Three patients were lost to follow-up and therefore were excluded from this study. Patient characteristics and outcomes were collected and analyzed. The obliteration prediction index and the radiosurgery-based AVM score were calculated and tested.
RESULTS: Forty-two patients were followed up for a median of 39 months (range, 25–90 mo; mean, 45.8 mo). The median maximum AVM diameter during the radiosurgery was 1.8 cm (range, 0.9–4.0 cm; mean, 2.07 cm), and the median AVM volume was 2.8 cm3 (range, 0.2–18.3 cm3; mean, 4.74 cm3). The mean marginal dose was 16.2 Gy (median, 15 Gy), and the median maximum dose was 22.4 Gy (range, 16.6–30 Gy). The AVM cure rate after the first radiosurgical treatment, using angiography- and magnetic resonance imaging-confirmed obliteration, was 61.9%. The predicted obliteration using the obliteration prediction index was 60%. Eight patients developed radiation-induced complications (19%). The deficit was transient in three patients (7.1%) and permanent in five patients (11.9%). The risk of postradiosurgical hemorrhage in this cohort was 9.5% for the first year, 4.7% for the second year, and 0% thereafter. Excellent outcome (obliteration plus no new deficit) was achieved in 70% of the patients in the group with radiosurgery-based AVM score less than 1.5 compared with 40.9% in the group with radiosurgery-based AVM score greater than 1.5% (P = 0.059).
CONCLUSION: Radiosurgery for deep AVMs has a satisfactory obliteration rate and acceptable morbidity, considering the risk of hemorrhage without treatment and the risk of morbidity associated with other treatment modalities.