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Joseph H. Garcia, Ethan A. Winkler, Ramin A. Morshed, Alex Lu, Simon G. Ammanuel, Satvir Saggi, Elaina J. Wang, Steve Braunstein, Christine K. Fox, Heather J. Fullerton, Helen Kim, Daniel L. Cooke, Steven W. Hetts, Michael T. Lawton, Adib A. Abla, and Nalin Gupta

OBJECTIVE

Children with cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) can present with seizures, potentially increasing morbidity and impacting clinical management. However, the factors that lead to seizures as a presenting sign are not well defined. While AVM-related seizures have been described in case series, most studies have focused on adults and have included patients who developed seizures after an AVM rupture. To address this, the authors sought to analyze demographic and morphological characteristics of AVMs in a large cohort of children.

METHODS

The demographic, clinical, and AVM morphological characteristics of 189 pediatric patients from a single-center database were studied. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were used to test the effect of these characteristics on seizures as an initial presenting symptom in patients with unruptured brain AVMs.

RESULTS

Overall, 28 of 189 patients initially presented with seizures (14.8%). By univariate comparison, frontal lobe location (p = 0.02), larger AVM size (p = 0.003), older patient age (p = 0.04), and the Supplemented Spetzler-Martin (Supp-SM) grade (0.0006) were associated with seizure presentation. Multivariate analysis confirmed an independent effect of frontal lobe AVM location and higher Supp-SM grade. All patients presenting with seizures had AVMs in the cortex or subcortical white matter.

CONCLUSIONS

While children and adults share some risk factors for seizure presentation, their risk factor profiles do not entirely overlap. Pediatric patients with cortical AVMs in the frontal lobe were more likely to present with seizures. Additionally, the Supp-SM grade was highly associated with seizure presentation. Future clinical research should focus on the effect of therapeutic interventions targeting AVMs on seizure control in these patients.

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Ethan A. Winkler, Alex Lu, Ramin A. Morshed, John K. Yue, W. Caleb Rutledge, Jan-Karl Burkhardt, Arati B. Patel, Simon G. Ammanuel, Steve Braunstein, Christine K. Fox, Heather J. Fullerton, Helen Kim, Daniel Cooke, Steven W. Hetts, Michael T. Lawton, Adib A. Abla, and Nalin Gupta

OBJECTIVE

Brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) consist of dysplastic blood vessels with direct arteriovenous shunts that can hemorrhage spontaneously. In children, a higher lifetime hemorrhage risk must be balanced with treatment-related morbidity. The authors describe a collaborative, multimodal strategy resulting in effective and safe treatment of pediatric AVMs.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of a prospectively maintained database was performed in children with treated and nontreated pediatric AVMs at the University of California, San Francisco, from 1998 to 2017. Inclusion criteria were age ≤ 18 years at time of diagnosis and an AVM confirmed by a catheter angiogram.

RESULTS

The authors evaluated 189 pediatric patients with AVMs over the study period, including 119 ruptured (63%) and 70 unruptured (37%) AVMs. The mean age at diagnosis was 11.6 ± 4.3 years. With respect to Spetzler-Martin (SM) grade, there were 38 (20.1%) grade I, 40 (21.2%) grade II, 62 (32.8%) grade III, 40 (21.2%) grade IV, and 9 (4.8%) grade V lesions. Six patients were managed conservatively, and 183 patients underwent treatment, including 120 resections, 82 stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), and 37 endovascular embolizations. Forty-four of 49 (89.8%) high-grade AVMs (SM grade IV or V) were treated. Multiple treatment modalities were used in 29.5% of low-grade and 27.3% of high-grade AVMs. Complete angiographic obliteration was obtained in 73.4% of low-grade lesions (SM grade I–III) and in 45.2% of high-grade lesions. A periprocedural stroke occurred in a single patient (0.5%), and there was 1 treatment-related death. The mean clinical follow-up for the cohort was 4.1 ± 4.6 years, and 96.6% and 84.3% of patients neurologically improved or remained unchanged in the ruptured and unruptured AVM groups following treatment, respectively. There were 16 bleeding events following initiation of AVM treatment (annual rate: 0.02 events per person-year).

CONCLUSIONS

Coordinated multidisciplinary evaluation and individualized planning can result in safe and effective treatment of children with AVMs. In particular, it is possible to treat the majority of high-grade AVMs with an acceptable safety profile. Judicious use of multimodality therapy should be limited to appropriately selected patients after thorough team-based discussions to avoid additive morbidity. Future multicenter studies are required to better design predictive models to aid with patient selection for multimodal pediatric care, especially with high-grade AVMs.