Purpose: To better understand radiation complications of arteriovenous malformation (AVM) radiosurgery and factors affecting their resolution.
Methods and materials: AVM patients (102/1255) who developed neurological sequelae after radiosurgery were studied. The median AVM marginal dose (Dmin) was 19 Gy (range: 10-35). The median volume was 5.7 cc (range: 0.26-143). Median follow-up was 34 months (range: 9-140).
Results: Complications consisted of 80/102 patients with evidence of radiation injury to the brain parenchyma (7 also with cranial nerve deficits, 12 also with seizures, 5 with cyst formation), 12/102 patients with isolated cranial neuropathies, and 10/102 patients with only new or worsened seizures. Severity was classified as minimal in 39 patients, mild in 40, disabling in 21, and fatal in 2 patients. Symptoms resolved completely in 42 patients for an actuarial resolution rate of 54% +/- 7% at 3 years post-onset. Multivariate analysis identified significantly greater symptom resolution in patients with no prior history of hemorrhage (p = 0.01, 66% vs. 41%), and in patients with symptoms of minimal severity: headache or seizure as the only sequelae of radiosurgery (p < 0.0001, 88% vs. 34%).
Conclusion: Late sequelae of radiosurgery manifest in varied ways. Further long-term studies of these problems are needed that take into account symptom severity and prior hemorrhage history.