Benjamin Pulli, Paul H. Chapman, Christopher S. Ogilvy, Aman B. Patel, Christopher J. Stapleton, Thabele M. Leslie-Mazwi, Joshua A. Hirsch, Bob S. Carter and James D. Rabinov
Curative treatment of unruptured brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) remains controversial after the only randomized controlled trial, A Randomized Trial of Unruptured Brain Arteriovenous Malformations (ARUBA), was halted prematurely because interim analysis revealed superiority of the medical management group. In contrast, meta-analyses of retrospective cohorts suggest that intervention is much safer than was found in ARUBA.
The authors retrospectively analyzed 318 consecutive adult patients with brain AVMs treated at their institution with embolization, surgery, and/or proton beam radiosurgery. Analysis was performed in 142 ARUBA-eligible patients (baseline modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score 0–1, no history of hemorrhage), and results were compared to primary and secondary outcomes from ARUBA, as well as to natural history cohorts.
The annualized stroke rate (hemorrhagic or ischemic) in this cohort was 1.8%, 4.9% in the first 12 months and 0.8% after the first 12 months, which was lower than in natural history studies and the ARUBA medical management arm (p = 0.001). The primary ARUBA endpoint of symptomatic stroke was reached in 13 patients (9.2%), which compares favorably to the ARUBA intervention arm (39.6%, p = 0.0001) and is similar to the ARUBA medical management arm (9.2%, p = 1.0). The secondary ARUBA endpoint (mRS score ≥ 2 at 5 years of follow-up) was reached in 14.3% of patients, compared to 40.5% in the ARUBA intervention arm (p = 0.002) and 16.7% in the ARUBA medical management arm (p = 0.6).
This multimodal approach to the selection and treatment of patients with brain AVMs yields good clinical outcomes with key safety endpoints (stroke, death, and mRS score 0–1) better than the ARUBA intervention arm and similar to the ARUBA medical arm at 5 years of follow-up. Results compare favorably to natural history cohorts at longer follow-up times. This suggests that tertiary care centers with integrated programs, expertise in patient selection, and individualized treatment approaches may allow for better clinical outcomes than reported in ARUBA. It supports current registry studies and merits consideration of future randomized controlled trials in patients with brain AVMs.
Benjamin Pulli, Christopher J. Stapleton, Brian P. Walcott, Matthew J. Koch, Scott B. Raymond, Thabele M. Leslie-Mazwi, James D. Rabinov and Aman B. Patel
Several grading systems for procedural risk in the endovascular treatment of brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) have been proposed, including the Buffalo, Puerto Rico, and AVM embocure scoring systems. The authors sought to validate these systems in an independent patient cohort and compare each system to the established Spetzler-Martin (SM) scale.
One hundred four consecutive patients underwent adjunctive endovascular embolization of brain AVMs between 2002 and 2016 with the goal of reducing the surgical or hemorrhagic risk before definitive radiosurgical treatment. Baseline clinical and AVM characteristics, complications, and degree of AVM nidus reduction were obtained retrospectively. Univariate and multivariate comparisons and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analyses were performed.
Ten major (9.6%) and 16 minor (15.4%) complications were encountered in 24 patients (23.1%). An arterial pedicle size < 1 mm (p = 0.001) and a greater number of pedicles (p = 0.039) were predictors of complication occurrence. Only the Buffalo score predicted the complication rate on univariate (p = 0.039) and multivariate (p = 0.001) analyses. ROC curve analysis revealed a greater area under the curve (AUC) of the Buffalo score (0.703) compared to the Puerto Rico score (p = 0.028), AVM embocure score (AVMES; p = 0.010), and SM grade (SMG; p = 0.030). The Buffalo score, Puerto Rico score, and AVMES but not the SMG predicted > 85% nidus reduction. The AUCs for the different scoring systems were not significantly different.
The major complication rate of 9.6% is within the range of rates reported in the literature and emphasizes that brain AVM embolization is not a low-risk procedure. The Buffalo score but not the Puerto Rico score, AVMES, or SMG predicted the endovascular procedural risk. All three endovascular scores but not the SMG predicted a > 85% nidus reduction rate in this cohort embolized as part of a multimodal AVM treatment.