Treatment of posterior fossa arteriovenous malformations (PFAVMs) remains controversial as it is always challenging and may lead to major complications. Nonetheless, these lesions are more likely to bleed and generate poorer outcomes than other brain AVMs. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of endovascular treatment on long-term outcomes and identify the patient subgroups that might benefit from endovascular treatment.
The authors performed a retrospective analysis of all consecutive cases of PFAVM managed at the Fondation Rothschild Hospital between 1995 and 2018. Clinical, imaging, and treatment data were prospectively gathered; these data were analyzed with respect to long-term outcomes.
Among the 1311 patients with brain AVMs, 114 (8.7%) had a PFAVM, and 88 (77.2%) of these patients had a history of bleeding. Of the 114 PFAVMs, 101 (88.6%) were treated (83 ruptured and 18 unruptured). The mean duration of follow-up was 47.6 months (range 0–240 months). Good neurological outcome at last follow-up was achieved in 79 cases (78.2%). Follow-up angiography showed obliteration of the PFAVM in 68.3% of treated cases. The presence of direct vertebrobasilar perforator feeders was associated with neurological deterioration (OR 5.63, 95% CI 11.15–30.76) and a lower obliteration rate (OR 15.69, 95% CI 2.52–304.03) after endovascular treatment. Other predictors of neurological deterioration and obliteration rate were consistent with the Spetzler-Martin grading system.
Advances in endovascular techniques have enabled higher obliteration rates in the treatment of PFAVMs, but complication rates are still high. Subgroups of patients who might benefit from treatment must be carefully selected and the presence of direct vertebrobasilar perforator feeders must call into question the indication for endovascular treatment.