Mutations in the smooth muscle–specific isoform of alpha actin (ACTA2) cause smooth muscle dysfunction in arteries. This rare loss-of-function mutation may cause a diffuse occlusive cerebral arteriopathy, resulting in stroke. While ACTA2 arteriopathy is often described as moyamoya-like, it has a distinct phenotype characterized by dilation of the proximal internal carotid artery (ICA) and occlusion of the terminal ICA and proximal middle cerebral artery. Intracranial arteries have an abnormally straight course, often with small aneurysms. There is limited experience with revascularization procedures for ACTA2 arteriopathy, and the safety and efficacy of these procedures are unknown. In this paper the authors present a symptomatic 6-year-old patient with ACTA2 cerebral arteriopathy who underwent both indirect revascularization and direct cerebrovascular bypass. Postoperatively, the patient suffered an ischemic infarct in a neighboring vascular territory. While direct cerebrovascular bypass is technically feasible, patients with ACTA2 arteriopathy may be at increased risk for perioperative stroke compared with patients with moyamoya disease.
W. Caleb Rutledge, Omar Choudhri, Brian P. Walcott, Arnau Benet, Christine K. Fox, Nalin Gupta and Michael T. Lawton
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
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.
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.
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).
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.