Endovascular treatment of brain arteriovenous malformations using onyx: preliminary results of a prospective multicenter study

Interv Neuroradiol. 2005 Oct 5;11(Suppl 1):159-64. doi: 10.1177/15910199050110S119. Epub 2005 Oct 27.


The main final goal of the treatment of brain AVMs is to prevent bleeding and to obtain a complete occlusion of the nidus. The strategy of treatment of brain arteriovenous malformations (AVM) has to be defined by a multidisciplinary team and will usually combine several modalities (surgery, radiosurgery, embolization). Embolization is generally the first step of treatment. Occasionally embolization is able to completely occlude a small AVM. Otherwise embolization is the first step before surgery or radiosurgery. Several embolic agents have been proposed for embolization of brain AVMs like particles or cyanoacrylates. The main disadvantage of particles is the high frequency of recanalization. The cyanoacrylates are probably more appropriate, providing a permanent occlusion. However, due to the polymerizing characteristics of the glue, the time of injection is relatively short (few seconds or minutes) and a complete or substantial occlusion of the nidus is difficult to obtain, especially in the case of medium or largesized AVMs. Onyx is a nonadhesive liquid polymer made of a mixture of ethylene-vinyl-alcohol copolymer and dimethylsulfoxide. The theoretical advantage of a nonadhesive liquid is to eliminate the risk of gluing the microcatheter and subsequently to perform a more durable injection with a larger amounts of agent delivered in a single injection. Several French centers have undertaken a prospective, multicentric study to evaluate the clinical value of Onyx in embolization of brain AVMs. As required, 50 patients were included. Preliminary results are presented regarding the first 48 patients, the last 2 patients being included after writing of this paper. The treatment is now completed in 15 patients. As expected, it was possible with Onyx to perform long duration injections (5 to 70 minutes with a mean of 34 minutes). Volumes injected per session were also important (0.25 to 6 ml with a mean of 1.6 ml). According to the clinical experience of the centers, duration and volume injected were most important with Onyx than with cyanoacrylates. Out of the 15 patients for whom embolization is now completed, 14 had a percentage of occlusion of the nidus greater than 60% (with 2 complete occlusion). With regard to procedural complications, four acute postembolization hemorrhages (APEH) were observed (8% per patient, 4% per procedure). This rate of APEH is in the same range as with cyanoacrylates.