Endovascular transvenous cure for ruptured brain arteriovenous malformations in complex cases with high Spetzler-Martin grades

J Neurosurg. 2015 May;122(5):1229-38. doi: 10.3171/2014.9.JNS141714. Epub 2015 Mar 20.


Object: Ruptured cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) with deep localization and high Spetzler-Martin grades are associated with considerable challenges regarding nidus eradication treatment. The authors report their experience with curative endovascular transvenous embolization in a series of patients harboring "untreatable" lesions.

Methods: Between January 2008 and June 2013, a transvenous endovascular embolization protocol was implemented at the authors' institution for consecutive patients with ruptured brain AVMs that were considered incurable by classic endovascular and surgical techniques. Therapeutic decision making was based on Spetzler-Martin grades, AVM location, type of venous drainage, and angioarchitectural evaluation. Complete exclusion of the nidus was the objective of treatment.

Results: Twenty patients (10 male and 10 female, mean age 36.7 ± 17.7 years) were included. Initial Spetzler-Martin grades were III-V for 90.0% of the patients. The lesions were deeply seated in 80% and in eloquent locations in 90% of cases. The preprocedural modified Rankin Scale score was 0-2 for 12 of the 20 patients (60.0%), 3 for 2 patients (10.0%), and 4 for 6 patients (30.0%). The postprocedural clinical status was unchanged for all patients. The procedure was technically feasible in all cases. Procedure-related mortality was 0%. Ninety percent of the patients were independent in their everyday lives (modified Rankin Scale Scores 0-2) at the 6-month follow-up. In all cases but one (95%) the embolization was curative, confirmed by selective DSA at 6 months and 18 months postintervention.

Conclusions: Single-session endovascular transvenous embolization seems to be a safe and effective curative treatment for patients harboring complex brain AVMs with high Spetzler-Martin grade.

Keywords: AVM = arteriovenous malformation; DSA = digital subtraction angiography; GCS = Glasgow Coma Scale; SRS = stereotactic radiosurgery; brain arteriovenous malformation; cerebral arteriovenous malformation; intracranial hematoma; intraventricular hemorrhage; mRS = modified Rankin Scale; therapeutic embolization; transvenous embolization; vascular disorders.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain
  • Child
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Embolization, Therapeutic* / methods
  • Endovascular Procedures*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / complications
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rupture
  • Young Adult