The major concern about ruptured arteriovenous malformations (rAVMs) is recurrent hemorrhage, which tends to preclude stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) as a therapeutic modality for these brain malformations. In this study, the authors aimed to clarify the role of SRS for rAVM as a stand-alone modality and an adjunct for a remnant nidus after surgery or embolization.
Data on 410 consecutive patients with rAVMs treated with SRS were analyzed. The patients were classified into groups, according to prior interventions: SRS-alone, surgery and SRS (Surg-SRS), and embolization and SRS (Embol-SRS) groups. The outcomes of the SRS-alone group were analyzed in comparison with those of the other two groups.
The obliteration rate was higher in the Surg-SRS group than in the SRS-alone group (5-year cumulative rate 97% vs 79%, p < 0.001), whereas no significant difference was observed between the Embol-SRS and SRS-alone groups. Prior resection (HR 1.78, 95% CI 1.30–2.43, p < 0.001), a maximum AVM diameter ≤ 20 mm (HR 1.81, 95% CI 1.43–2.30, p < 0.001), and a prescription dose ≥ 20 Gy (HR 2.04, 95% CI 1.28–3.27, p = 0.003) were associated with a better obliteration rate, as demonstrated by multivariate Cox proportional hazards analyses. In the SRS-alone group, the annual post-SRS hemorrhage rates were 1.5% within 5 years and 0.2% thereafter and the 10-year significant neurological event–free rate was 95%; no intergroup difference was observed in either outcome. The exclusive performance of SRS (SRS alone) was not a risk for post-SRS hemorrhage or for significant neurological events based on multivariate analyses. These results were also confirmed with propensity score–matched analyses.
The treatment strategy for rAVMs should be tailored with due consideration of multiple factors associated with the patients. Stand-alone SRS is effective for hemorrhagic AVMs, and the risk of post-SRS hemorrhage was low. SRS can also be favorably used for residual AVMs after initial interventions, especially after failed resection.