Preoperative embolization of brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) is performed to facilitate resection, although its impact on surgical performance has not been clearly defined. The authors tested for associations between embolization and surgical performance metrics.
The authors analyzed AVM cases resected by one neurosurgeon from 2006 to 2017. They tested whether cases with and without embolization differed from one another with respect to patient and AVM characteristics using t-tests for continuous variables and Fisher’s exact tests for categorical variables. They used simple and multivariable regression models to test whether surgical outcomes (blood loss, resection time, surgical clip usage, and modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score) were associated with embolization. Additional regression analyses integrated the peak arterial afferent contrast normalized for the size of the region of interest (Cmax/ROI) into models as an additional predictor.
The authors included 319 patients, of whom 151 (47%) had preoperative embolization. Embolized AVMs tended to be larger (38% with diameter > 3 cm vs 19%, p = 0.001), less likely to have hemorrhaged (48% vs 63%, p = 0.013), or be diffuse (19% vs 29%, p = 0.045). Embolized AVMs were more likely to have both superficial and deep venous drainage and less likely to have exclusively deep drainage (32% vs 17% and 12% vs 23%, respectively; p = 0.002). In multivariable analysis, embolization was not a significant predictor of blood loss or mRS score changes, but did predict longer operating times (+29 minutes, 95% CI 2–56 minutes; p = 0.034) and increased clip usage (OR 2.61, 95% CI 1.45–4.71; p = 0.001). Cmax/ROI was not a significant predictor, although cases with large Cmax/ROI tended to have longer procedure times (+25 minutes per doubling of Cmax/ROI, 95% CI 0–50 minutes; p = 0.051).
In this series, preoperative embolization was associated with longer median resection times and had no association with intraoperative blood loss or mRS score changes.