Fatal hemorrhagic complication following endovascular treatment of a cerebral arteriovenous malformation. Case report and review of the literature

J Neuroradiol. 2006 Apr;33(2):96-104. doi: 10.1016/s0150-9861(06)77238-8.


Evaluation of the natural history of brain Arteriovenous Malformations (AVMs) including its morbidity and mortality is a crucial point in the management of patients having a cerebral AVM. The risks associated with the AVM natural history, especially regarding the occurrence of an hemorrhage, have to be compared to the risks due to the therapeutic approach. In the literature, the risk of annual bleeding of an AVM is estimated from 2 to 4%. Morbidity from AVM rupture is estimated from 13% to 50% with a risk of mortality reported from 3 to 30%. Endovascular treatment is an efficient tool in the therapy of these lesions. However, AVM embolization remains a difficult procedure. Complications of the endovascular treatment must be evaluated in relation to the potential risk associated to the AVM natural history. After AVM endovascular treatment, morbidity with permanent neurological deficit is reported in 0.4% to 12.5% of patients and mortality in 0.4% to 7.5%. In more recent reports, after brain AVM embolization, a permanent neurological deficit is estimated to occur in 9% of patients and death in 2%. Hemorrhage appears the most frequent and serious complication in the endovascular treatment of a brain AVM. We report a case of fatal hemorrhagic complication following endovascular treatment of a cerebral AVM in a 20 year old patient. This case contributes to remind that embolization, even in specialized centers with experience in the management of this pathology, can be followed by a poor and even fatal outcome. In most cases, the treatment is performed in order to protect the patient of a potential risk. Consequently, the complication of the embolization must always be carefully considered and discussed between the medical team, the patient and its family for planning the AVM endovascular treatment.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / adverse effects*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / therapy*
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / etiology*
  • Male