Background: The purpose of this study was to document the long-term results of transcatheter embolotherapy of large pulmonary arteriovenous malformations (PAVMs).
Methods: From a data base of 221 consecutive patients with PAVMs treated by embolotherapy between 1978 and 1995, 45 patients with 52 PAVMs, supplied by feeding arteries 8 mm in diameter or larger, were selected for a retrospective investigation.
Results: Of 45 patients with 52 large PAVMs, 38 patients (84%) with 44 PAVMs (85%) were cured by the first embolotherapy (mean follow-up, 4.7 years). Acute periprocedural complications included self-limited pleurisy (31%), angina secondary to air embolus (2%), and paradoxical embolization of a device during deployment (4%). None of these events led to short- or long-term sequelae. Seven patients (16%) had persistence of the PAVM attributable to either recanalization (n = 4) or interim accessory artery growth (n = 3). Two of these patients presented with ischemic stroke several years after the initial treatment. Persistent PAVMs (n = 8) were retreated successfully by a second procedure (n = 7), or a third procedure (n = 1) (mean follow-up, 5.9 and 5.3 years, respectively).
Conclusions: Embolotherapy of large PAVMs results in permanent occlusion in an overwhelming majority of patients. Continued patency due to recanalization or accessory artery growth is easily detected and treated.