Object: The goal of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of patients who underwent repeated radiosurgery to treat a residual intracranial arteriovenous malformation (AVM) after an initial radiosurgical treatment failure.
Methods: The authors reviewed the cases of 52 patients who underwent repeated radiosurgery for residual AVM at the University of Florida between December 1991 and June 1998. In each case, residual arteriovenous shunting persisted longer than 36 months after the initial treatment; the mean interval between the first and second treatment was 41 months. Each AVM nidus was measured at the time of the original treatment and again at the time of retreatment, and the dosimetric parameters of the two treatments were compared. After retreatment, patients were followed up and their outcomes were evaluated according to a standard posttreatment protocol for radiosurgery for AVMs. The mean original lesion volume was 13.8 cm3 and the mean volume at retreatment was 4.7 cm3, for an average volume reduction of 66% after the initial treatment failure. Only two AVMs (3.8%) failed to demonstrate size reduction after the primary treatment. The median doses on initial and repeated treatment were 12.5 and 15 Gy, respectively. Five patients were lost to follow up and five refused neuroimaging follow up. One patient died of a hemorrhage shortly after retreatment. Of the remaining 41 patients, 24 had evidence of cure, 15 on angiographic studies and nine on magnetic resonance (MR) images. Seventeen had evidence of treatment failure, 10 on angiographic studies and seven on MR images. By angiographic criteria alone, the cure rate after retreatment was 60%, whereas according to angiographic and MR imaging results, the cure rate was 59%.
Conclusions: Although initial radiosurgical treatment failed to obliterate the AVM in these 52 patients, it did produce a substantial therapeutic effect (volume reduction). This size reduction commonly allowed higher doses to be delivered during radiosurgical retreatment. The results show rates of angiographically confirmed cure comparable to primary treatment and a low incidence of complications, indicating that salvage radiosurgical retreatment is a safe and effective therapy in cases of failed AVM radiosurgery.