Outcome of microsurgical excision of unruptured brain arteriovenous malformations in ARUBA-eligible patients

Br J Neurosurg. 2016 Dec;30(6):619-622. doi: 10.1080/02688697.2016.1181153. Epub 2016 May 13.


Objectives: To determine the outcome of microsurgical excision of selected unruptured brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), and to compare the results with those of the ARUBA trial.

Methods: Prospective data collection for all patients undergoing microsurgical excision of unruptured brain AVMs by two neurovascular surgeons. Outcome measures similar to those assessed in the ARUBA trial (death and stroke) as well as modified Rankin scores (mRS) at 6 months were assessed.

Results: Between September 2004 and September 2014, 45 patients with unruptured brain AVMs underwent microsurgical excision. 11 patients (eight children and three with mRS >2 at presentation) were excluded to match ARUBA eligibility criteria. 34 patients were included in this study. AVM characteristics closely matched those in the ARUBA trial with 70.5% Spetzler-Martin (SM) grade I or II AVMs, 68% AVM size <3 cm. However, compared to ARUBA, a larger proportion of our patients presented with seizures, and a lower proportion with headaches. 8(23%) had preoperative embolization. There were no deaths and no strokes (as defined in ARUBA). 5 (14.7%) had permanent neurological deficit related to surgery within/near eloquent cortex. At 6 months follow-up, 32 (94%) had mRS score of 0-1. Two (6%) had mRS 2 and none had mRS> 2. Postoperative digital DSA confirmed complete AVM excision in all cases. None of the patients have suffered intracranial hemorrhage during the follow-up period of 6-126 (median 69) months.

Conclusions: Microsurgical excision of unruptured brain AVMs can be performed with low morbidity in selected cases. Our study has limitations particularly the small number of patients with selected AVMs for microsurgical excision. However, our results suggest that ARUBA results may not be applicable to microsurgical excision when cases are appropriately selected for this treatment modality.

Keywords: ARUBA; Arteriovenous malformation; microsurgical excision; observation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Angiography, Digital Subtraction
  • Embolization, Therapeutic
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Headache / etiology
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / mortality
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / surgery*
  • Male
  • Microsurgery / adverse effects
  • Microsurgery / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiosurgery
  • Seizures / etiology
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Treatment Outcome