Objective: To define the factors of importance for the obliteration of cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), thus making a prediction of the probability for obliteration possible.
Methods: In 945 AVMs of a series of 1319 patients treated with the gamma knife during 1970 to 1990, the relationship between patient, AVMs, and treatment parameters on the one hand and the obliteration of the nidus on the other was analyzed.
Results: The obliteration rate increased both with increased minimum (lowest periphery) and average dose and decreased with increased AVM volume. The minimum dose to the AVMs was the decisive dose factor for the treatment result. The higher the minimum dose, the higher the chance for total obliteration. The curve illustrating this relation increased logarithmically to a value of 87%. A higher average dose shortened the latency to AVM obliteration. For the obliterated cases, the larger the malformation, the lower the minimum dose used. This prompted us to relate the obliteration rate to the product minimum dose (AVM volume)1/3 (K index). The obliteration rate increased linearly with the K index up to a value of approximately 27, and for higher K values, the obliteration rate had a constant value of approximately 80%. For the group of 273 cases treated with a minimum dose of at least 25 Gy, the obliteration rate at the study end point (defined as 2-yr latency) was 80% (95% confidence interval = 75-85%). If obliterations that occurred beyond the end point are included, the obliteration rate increased to 85% (81-89%).
Conclusion: The probability of obliteration of AVMs after gamma knife surgery is related both to the lowest dose to the AVMs and the AVM volume, and it can be predicted using the K index.