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Dale Ding, Chun-Po Yen, Robert M. Starke, Zhiyuan Xu, Xingwen Sun and Jason P. Sheehan

Object

Intracranial arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are most commonly classified based on their Spetzler-Martin grades. Due to the composition of the Spetzler-Martin grading scale, Grade III AVMs are the most heterogeneous, comprising 4 distinct lesion subtypes. The management of this class of AVMs and the optimal treatment approach when intervention is indicated remain controversial. The authors report their experience with radiosurgery for the treatment of Grade III AVMs in a large cohort of patients.

Methods

All patients with Spetzler-Martin Grade III AVMs treated with radiosurgery at the University of Virginia over the 20-year span from 1989 to 2009 were identified. Patients who had less than 2 years of radiological follow-up and did not have evidence of complete obliteration during that period were excluded from the study, leaving 398 cases for analysis. The median patient age at treatment was 31 years. The most common presenting symptoms were hemorrhage (59%), seizure (20%), and headache (10%). The median AVM volume was 2.8 cm3, and the median prescription dose was 20 Gy. The median radiological and clinical follow-up intervals were 54 and 68 months, respectively. Univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazards and logistic regression analysis were used to identify factors associated with obliteration, postradiosurgery radiation-induced changes (RIC), and favorable outcome.

Results

Complete AVM obliteration was observed in 69% of Grade III AVM cases at a median time of 46 months after radiosurgery. The actuarial obliteration rates at 3 and 5 years were 38% and 60%, respectively. The obliteration rate was higher in ruptured AVMs than in unruptured ones (p < 0.001). Additionally, the obliteration rate for Grade III AVMs with small size (< 3 cm diameter), deep venous drainage, and location in eloquent cortex was higher than for the other subtypes (p < 0.001). Preradiosurgery AVM rupture (p = 0.016), no preradiosurgery embolization (p = 0.003), increased prescription dose (p < 0.001), fewer isocenters (p = 0.006), and a single draining vein (p = 0.018) were independent predictors of obliteration. The annual risk of postradiosurgery hemorrhage during the latency period was 1.7%. Two patients (0.5%) died of hemorrhage during the radiosurgical latency period. The rates of symptomatic and permanent RIC were 12% and 4%, respectively. Absence of preradiosurgery AVM rupture (p < 0.001) and presence of a single draining vein (p < 0.001) were independent predictors of RIC. Favorable outcome was observed in 63% of patients. Independent predictors of favorable outcome were no preradiosurgery hemorrhage (p = 0.014), increased prescription dose (p < 0.001), fewer isocenters (p = 0.014), deep location (p = 0.014), single draining vein (p = 0.001), and lower Virginia radiosurgery AVM scale score (p = 0.016).

Conclusions

Radiosurgery for Spetzler-Martin Grade III AVMs yields relatively high rates of obliteration with a low rate of adverse procedural events. Small and ruptured lesions are more likely to become obliterated after radiosurgery than large and unruptured ones.

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Dale Ding, Chun-Po Yen, Zhiyuan Xu, Robert M. Starke and Jason P. Sheehan

Object

Low-grade, or Spetzler-Martin (SM) Grades I and II, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are associated with lower surgical morbidity rates than higher-grade lesions. While radiosurgery is now widely accepted as an effective treatment approach for AVMs, the risks and benefits of the procedure for low-grade AVMs, as compared with microsurgery, remain poorly understood. The authors of this study present the outcomes for a large cohort of low-grade AVMs treated with radiosurgery.

Methods

From an institutional radiosurgery database comprising approximately 1450 AVM cases, all patients with SM Grade I and II lesions were identified. Patients with less than 2 years of radiological follow-up, except those with complete AVM obliteration, were excluded from analysis. Univariate and multivariate Cox proportional-hazards and logistic regression analyses were used to determine factors associated with obliteration, radiation-induced changes (RICs), and hemorrhage following radiosurgery.

Results

Five hundred two patients harboring low-grade AVMs were eligible for analysis. The median age was 35 years, 50% of patients were male, and the most common presentation was hemorrhage (47%). The median AVM volume and prescription dose were 2.4 cm3 and 23 Gy, respectively. The median radiological and clinical follow-up intervals were 48 and 62 months, respectively. The cumulative obliteration rate was 76%. The median time to obliteration was 40 months, and the actuarial obliteration rates were 66% and 80% at 5 and 10 years, respectively. Independent predictors of obliteration were no preradiosurgery embolization (p < 0.001), decreased AVM volume (p = 0.005), single draining vein (p = 0.013), lower radiosurgery-based AVM scale score (p = 0.016), and lower Virginia Radiosurgery AVM Scale (Virginia RAS) score (p = 0.001). The annual postradiosurgery hemorrhage rate was 1.4% with increased AVM volume (p = 0.034) and lower prescription dose (p = 0.006) as independent predictors. Symptomatic and permanent RICs were observed in 8.2% and 1.4% of patients, respectively. No preradiosurgery hemorrhage (p = 0.011), a decreased prescription dose (p = 0.038), and a higher Virginia RAS score (p = 0.001) were independently associated with postradiosurgery RICs.

Conclusions

Spetzler-Martin Grade I and II AVMs are very amenable to successful treatment with stereotactic radiosurgery. While patient, physician, and institutional preferences frequently dictate the final course of treatment, radiosurgery offers a favorable risk-to-benefit profile for the management of low-grade AVMs.

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Dale Ding, Chun-Po Yen, Robert M. Starke, Zhiyuan Xu and Jason P. Sheehan

Object

Ruptured intracranial arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are at a significantly greater risk for future hemorrhage than unruptured lesions, thereby necessitating treatment in the majority of cases. In a retrospective, single-center study, the authors describe the outcomes after radiosurgery in a large cohort of patients with ruptured AVMs.

Methods

From an institutional review board–approved, prospectively collected AVM radiosurgery database, the authors identified all patients with a history of AVM rupture. They analyzed obliteration rates in all patients in whom radiological follow-up data were available (n = 639). However, to account for the latency period associated with radiosurgery, only those patients with more than 2 years of radiological follow-up and those with earlier AMV obliteration were included in the analysis of prognostic factors related to obliteration and complications. This resulted in a cohort of 565 patients with ruptured AVMs for whom data were analyzed; these patients had a median radiological follow-up of 57 months and a median age of 29 years. Twenty-one percent of the patients underwent preradiosurgery embolization. The median volume and prescription dose were 2.1 cm3 and 22 Gy, respectively. The Spetzler-Martin grade was III or higher in 56% of patients, the median radiosurgery-based AVM score was 1.08, and the Virginia Radiosurgery AVM Scale (RAS) score was 3 to 4 points in 44%. Survival and regression analyses were performed to determine obliteration rates over time and predictors of obliteration and complications.

Results

In the overall population of 639 patients with ruptured AVMs, the obliteration rate was 11.1% based on MRI only (71 of 639 patients), 56.0% based on angiography (358 of 639), and 67.1% based on combined modalities (429 of 639 patients). In the cohort of patients with 2 years of follow-up or an earlier AVM obliteration, the cumulative obliteration rate was 76% and the actuarial obliteration rates were 41% and 64% at 3 and 5 years, respectively. Multivariate analysis identified the absence of preradiosurgery embolization (p < 0.001), increased prescription dose (p = 0.001), the presence of a single draining vein (p = 0.046), no postradiosurgery-related hemorrhage (p = 0.007), and lower Virginia RAS score (p = 0.020) as independent predictors of obliteration. The annual risk of a hemorrhage occurring during the latency period was 2.0% and the rate of hemorrhage-related morbidity and mortality was 1.6%. Multivariate analysis showed that decreased prescription dose (p < 0.001) and multiple draining veins (p = 0.003) were independent predictors of postradiosurgery hemorrhage. The rates of symptomatic and permanent radiation-induced changes were 8% and 2.7%, respectively. In the multivariate analysis, a single draining vein (p < 0.001) and higher Virginia RAS score (p = 0.005) were independent predictors of radiation-induced changes following radiosurgery.

Conclusions

Radiosurgery effectively treats ruptured AVMs with an acceptably low risk-to-benefit ratio. For patients with ruptured AVMs, favorable outcomes are more likely when preradiosurgical embolization is avoided and a higher prescription dose can be delivered.

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Ching-Jen Chen, Srinivas Chivukula, Dale Ding, Robert M. Starke, Cheng-Chia Lee, Chun-Po Yen, Zhiyuan Xu and Jason P. Sheehan

Object

Seizures are a common presentation of cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). The authors evaluated the efficacy of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for the management of seizures associated with AVMs and identified factors influencing seizure outcomes following SRS for AVMs.

Methods

A systematic literature review was performed using PubMed. Studies selected for review were published in English, included at least 5 patients with both cerebral AVMs and presenting seizures treated with SRS, and provided post-SRS outcome data regarding obliteration of AVMs and/or seizures. Demographic, radiosurgical, radiological, and seizure outcome data were extracted and analyzed. All seizure outcomes were categorized as follows: 1) seizure free, 2) seizure improvement, 3) seizure unchanged, and 4) seizure worsened. Systematic statistical analysis was conducted to assess the effect of post-SRS AVM obliteration on seizure outcome.

Results

Nineteen case series with a total of 3971 AVM patients were included for analysis. Of these, 28% of patients presented with seizures, and data for 997 patients with available seizure outcome data who met the inclusion criteria were evaluated. Of these, 437 (43.8%) patients achieved seizure-free status after SRS, and 530 (68.7%) of 771 patients with available data achieved seizure control (seizure freedom or seizure improvement) following SRS. Factors associated with improved seizure outcomes following SRS for AVMs were analyzed in 9 studies. Seizure-free status was achieved in 82% and 41.0% of patients with complete and incomplete AVM obliteration, respectively. Complete AVM obliteration offered superior seizure-free rates compared with incomplete AVM obliteration (OR 6.13; 95% CI 2.16–17.44; p = 0.0007).

Conclusions

Stereotactic radiosurgery offers favorable seizure outcomes for AVM patients presenting with seizures. Improved seizure control is significantly more likely with complete AVM obliteration.

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Shayan Moosa, Ching-Jen Chen, Dale Ding, Cheng-Chia Lee, Srinivas Chivukula, Robert M. Starke, Chun-Po Yen, Zhiyuan Xu and Jason P. Sheehan

Object

The aim in this paper was to compare the outcomes of dose-staged and volume-staged stereotactic radio-surgery (SRS) in the treatment of large (> 10 cm3) arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).

Methods

A systematic literature review was performed using PubMed. Studies written in the English language with at least 5 patients harboring large (> 10 cm3) AVMs treated with dose- or volume-staged SRS that reported post-treatment outcomes data were selected for review. Demographic information, radiosurgical treatment parameters, and post-SRS outcomes and complications were analyzed for each of these studies.

Results

The mean complete obliteration rates for the dose- and volume-staged groups were 22.8% and 47.5%, respectively. Complete obliteration was demonstrated in 30 of 161 (18.6%) and 59 of 120 (49.2%) patients in the dose- and volume-staged groups, respectively. The mean rates of symptomatic radiation-induced changes were 13.5% and 13.6% in dose- and volume-staged groups, respectively. The mean rates of cumulative post-SRS latency period hemorrhage were 12.3% and 17.8% in the dose- and volume-staged groups, respectively. The mean rates of post-SRS mortality were 3.2% and 4.6% in dose- and volume-staged groups, respectively.

Conclusions

Volume-staged SRS affords higher obliteration rates and similar complication rates compared with dose-staged SRS. Thus, volume-staged SRS may be a superior approach for large AVMs that are not amenable to single-session SRS. Staged radiosurgery should be considered as an efficacious component of multimodality AVM management.

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Mohamed Samy Elhammady and Roberto C. Heros

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Chun-Po Yen, Dale Ding, Ching-Hsiao Cheng, Robert M. Starke, Mark Shaffrey and Jason Sheehan

Object

A relatively benign natural course of unruptured cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) has recently been recognized, and the decision to treat incidentally found AVMs has been questioned. This study aims to evaluate the long-term imaging and clinical outcomes of patients with asymptomatic, incidentally discovered AVMs treated with Gamma Knife surgery (GKS).

Methods

Thirty-one patients, each with an incidentally diagnosed AVM, underwent GKS between 1989 and 2009. The nidus volumes ranged from 0.3 to 11.1 cm3 (median 3.2 cm3). A margin dose between 15 and 26 Gy (median 20 Gy) was used to treat the AVMs. Four patients underwent repeat GKS for still-patent AVM residuals after the initial GKS procedure. Clinical follow-up ranged from 24 to 196 months, with a mean of 78 months (median 51 months) after the initial GKS.

Results

Following GKS, 19 patients (61.3%) had a total AVM obliteration on angiography. In 7 patients (22.6%), no flow voids were observed on MRI but angiographic confirmation was not available. In 5 patients (16.1%), the AVMs remained patent. A small nidus volume was significantly associated with increased AVM obliteration rate. Thirteen patients (41.9%) developed radiation-induced imaging changes: 11 were asymptomatic (35.5%), 1 had only headache (3.2%), and 1 developed seizure and neurological deficits (3.2%). Two patients each had 1 hemorrhage during the latency period (116.5 risk years), yielding an annual hemorrhage rate of 1.7% before AVM obliteration.

Conclusions

The decision to treat asymptomatic AVMs, and if so, which treatment approach to use, remain the subject of debate. GKS as a minimally invasive procedure appears to achieve a reasonable outcome with low procedure-related morbidity. In those patients with incidental AVMs, the benefits as well as the risks of radiosurgical intervention will only be fully defined with long-term follow-up.

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Zhiyuan Xu, Carissa Carlson, John Snell, Matt Eames, Arik Hananel, M. Beatriz Lopes, Prashant Raghavan, Cheng-Chia Lee, Chun-Po Yen, David Schlesinger, Neal F. Kassell, Jean-Francois Aubry and Jason Sheehan

OBJECT

In biological tissues, it is known that the creation of gas bubbles (cavitation) during ultrasound exposure is more likely to occur at lower rather than higher frequencies. Upon collapsing, such bubbles can induce hemorrhage. Thus, acoustic inertial cavitation secondary to a 220-kHz MRI-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) surgery is a serious safety issue, and animal studies are mandatory for laying the groundwork for the use of low-frequency systems in future clinical trials. The authors investigate here the in vivo potential thresholds of MRgFUS-induced inertial cavitation and MRgFUS-induced thermal coagulation using MRI, acoustic spectroscopy, and histology.

METHODS

Ten female piglets that had undergone a craniectomy were sonicated using a 220-kHz transcranial MRgFUS system over an acoustic energy range of 5600–14,000 J. For each piglet, a long-duration sonication (40-second duration) was performed on the right thalamus, and a short sonication (20-second duration) was performed on the left thalamus. An acoustic power range of 140–300 W was used for long-duration sonications and 300–700 W for short-duration sonications. Signals collected by 2 passive cavitation detectors were stored in memory during each sonication, and any subsequent cavitation activity was integrated within the bandwidth of the detectors. Real-time 2D MR thermometry was performed during the sonications. T1-weighted, T2-weighted, gradient-recalled echo, and diffusion-weighted imaging MRI was performed after treatment to assess the lesions. The piglets were killed immediately after the last series of posttreatment MR images were obtained. Their brains were harvested, and histological examinations were then performed to further evaluate the lesions.

RESULTS

Two types of lesions were induced: thermal ablation lesions, as evidenced by an acute ischemic infarction on MRI and histology, and hemorrhagic lesions, associated with inertial cavitation. Passive cavitation signals exhibited 3 main patterns identified as follows: no cavitation, stable cavitation, and inertial cavitation. Low-power and longer sonications induced only thermal lesions, with a peak temperature threshold for lesioning of 53°C. Hemorrhagic lesions occurred only with high-power and shorter sonications. The sizes of the hemorrhages measured on macroscopic histological examinations correlated with the intensity of the cavitation activity (R2 = 0.74). The acoustic cavitation activity detected by the passive cavitation detectors exhibited a threshold of 0.09 V·Hz for the occurrence of hemorrhages.

CONCLUSIONS

This work demonstrates that 220-kHz ultrasound is capable of inducing a thermal lesion in the brain of living swines without hemorrhage. Although the same acoustic energy can induce either a hemorrhage or a thermal lesion, it seems that low-power, long-duration sonication is less likely to cause hemorrhage and may be safer. Although further study is needed to decrease the likelihood of ischemic infarction associated with the 220-kHz ultrasound, the threshold established in this work may allow for the detection and prevention of deleterious cavitations.

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Ching-Jen Chen, Cheng-Chia Lee, Dale Ding, Robert M. Starke, Srinivas Chivukula, Chun-Po Yen, Shayan Moosa, Zhiyuan Xu, David Hung-Chi Pan and Jason P. Sheehan

OBJECT

The goal of this study was to evaluate the obliteration rate of intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) in patients treated with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), and to compare obliteration rates between cavernous sinus (CS) and noncavernous sinus (NCS) DAVFs, and between DAVFs with and without cortical venous drainage (CVD).

METHODS

A systematic literature review was performed using PubMed. The CS DAVFs and the NCS DAVFs were categorized using the Barrow and Borden classification systems, respectively. The DAVFs were also categorized by location and by the presence of CVD. Statistical analyses of pooled data were conducted to assess complete obliteration rates in CS and NCS DAVFs, and in DAVFs with and without CVD.

RESULTS

Nineteen studies were included, comprising 729 patients harboring 743 DAVFs treated with SRS. The mean obliteration rate was 63% (95% CI 52.4%–73.6%). Complete obliteration for CS and NCS DAVFs was achieved in 73% and 58% of patients, respectively. No significant difference in obliteration rates between CS and NCS DAVFs was found (OR 1.72, 95% CI 0.66–4.46; p = 0.27). Complete obliteration in DAVFs with and without CVD was observed in 56% and 75% of patients, respectively. A significantly higher obliteration rate was observed in DAVFs without CVD compared with DAVFs with CVD (OR 2.37, 95% CI 1.07–5.28; p = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS

Treatment with SRS offers favorable rates of DAVF obliteration with low complication rates. Patients harboring DAVFs that are refractory or not amenable to endovascular or surgical therapy may be safely and effectively treated using SRS.