Comprehensive management of arteriovenous malformations

Neurol Res. 1998 Dec;20(8):673-83. doi: 10.1080/01616412.1998.11740583.


The treatment of arteriovenous malformations depends on the efforts of a multidisciplinary team whose ultimate goal is to achieve better results when compared to the natural history of the pathology. The role of adjuvant treatment modalities such as radiosurgery and endovascular embolization is discussed. Treatment strategies and surgical results from a personal series of 344 patients operated in a ten-year period are reviewed. The Spetzler and Martin classification was modified to include subgroups IIIA (large size grade III AVMs) and IIIB (small grade III AVMs in eloquent areas) to assist the surgical resection criteria. The treatment strategy followed was surgery for grades I and II, embolization plus surgery for grades IIIA, radiosurgery for grades IIIB, and conservative for grades IV and V. According to the new proposed classification 45 (13%) patients were grade I, 96 (28%) were grade II, 44 (13%) grade IIIA, 97 (28%) grade IIIB, 45 (13%) grade IV, and 17 (5%) were grade V. As for surgical results 85.8% of the patients had a good outcome (no additional neurological deficit), 12.5% had a fair outcome (minor neurological deficit), 0.6% had a bad outcome (major neurological deficit), and 1.2% died. These figures indicate that the treatment of arteriovenous malformations can achieve better results compared to the natural history if managed by a well trained group of specialists led by an experienced neurosurgeon.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / surgery
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / methods*
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / surgery*
  • Neurosurgery / methods*
  • Radiosurgery / methods*
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / methods*