Outcomes of radiosurgery for brainstem arteriovenous malformations

Tomoyuki Koga, Masahiro Shin, Atsuro Terahara, Nobuhito Saito

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26 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) in the brainstem yield a high risk of hemorrhage. Although stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is accepted, because of high surgical morbidity and mortality, outcomes are still unclear. OBJECTIVE: We previously reported the early results of SRS for brainstem AVMs. Here, we obtained data from a longer follow-up for a larger number of patients and present precise outcomes based on the latest follow-up data. METHODS: Forty-four patients with brainstem AVMs were treated by SRS. Outcomes such as the rates of obliteration, hemorrhage after treatment, and adverse effects were retrospectively analyzed. RESULTS: The annual hemorrhage rate before SRS was 17.5%. The mean follow-up period after SRS was 71 months (range, 2-168 months). The actuarial obliteration rate confirmed by angiography was 52% at 5 years. Factors associated with higher obliteration rate were previous hemorrhage (P = .048) and higher margin dose (P = .048). For patients treated with a margin dose of ≥ 18 Gy, the obliteration rate was 71% at 5 years. Persistent worsening of neurological symptoms was observed in 5%. The annual hemorrhage rate after SRS was 2.4%. Four patients died of rebleeding, and disease-specific survival rate was 86% at 10 years after treatment. CONCLUSION: Nidus obliteration must be achieved for brainstem AVMs because they possibly cause lethal hemorrhage even after SRS. Treatment with a high margin dose is desirable to obtain favorable outcomes for these lesions. Additional treatment should be considered for an incompletely obliterated nidus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-51
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Arteriovenous malformation
  • Brainstem
  • Gamma knife
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery


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