In this paper the authors analyzed the clinical and neuroimaging outcomes of patients with cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) after Gamma Knife surgery (GKS), focusing on the analysis of the radiation injury rate depending on the AVM volume.
Between 1997 and 2004, 277 consecutive patients with cerebral AVMs were treated with GKS. Of these patients, 218 were followed up for ≥ 2 years. The mean age was 31 ± 15 years, the median AVM volume was 3.4 cm3 (range 0.17–35.2 cm3), the median marginal dose was 18.0 Gy (range 10.0–25.0 Gy), and the mean follow-up duration was 44 ± 20 months. The authors reduced the prescription dose by various amounts, depending on the AVM volume and location as prescribed in the classic guideline to avoid irreversible radiation injuries.
The angiographic obliteration rate was 66.4% overall, and it was 81.7, 53.1, and 12.5% for small, medium, and large AVMs, respectively. The overall annual bleeding rate was 1.9%. The annual bleeding rate was 0.44 and 4.64% for small and large AVMs, respectively. Approximately 20% of the patients showed severe postradiosurgery imaging (PRI) changes. The rate of PRI change was 11.4, 33.3, and 9.5% for small, medium, and large AVM volume groups, respectively, and a permanent radiation injury developed in 5.1% of patients.
By using the reduced dose from what is usually prescribed, the authors were able to obtain outcomes in small AVMs that were comparable to the outcomes described in previous reports. However, medium AVMs appear to still be at risk for adverse radiation effects. Last, in large AVMs, the authors were able to attain a tolerable rate of radiation injury; however, the clinical outcomes were quite disappointing following administration of a reduced dose of GKS for large AVMs.