Object: Although the effects of Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) on the risk of hemorrhage are poorly understood, a certain subset of patients does suffer bleeding after GKS. This study was undertaken to analyze the outcome of patients sustaining hemorrhage after GKS; it is the most feared complication of radiosurgical management of cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).
Methods: Between May 1997 and June 2006, 494 cerebral AVMs in 489 patients were treated using a Leksell Gamma Knife Model B, and follow-up evaluations were conducted until June 2007 at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. Fourteen patients who sustained a hemorrhage after GKS formed the study group. In most of these patients conservative management was chosen.
Results: The mortality rate was 0% and there was a 7% risk of sustaining a severe deficit following rebleeding after GKS. None of the patients sustained rebleeding after complete obliteration. Patients with Spetzler-Martin Grade III or less had increased chances of hemorrhage after GKS (p < 0.002). The presence of deep venous drainage, aneurysm, venous hypertension, or periventricular location on angiography was common in patients with hemorrhage after GKS.
Conclusions: The risk of hemorrhage that remains following GKS for cerebral AVMs is highest in the 1st year after treatment. The present study showed a relatively good outcome even in cases with hemorrhage following GKS, with no deaths and minimal morbidity, further substantiating the safety and efficacy of the procedure.