Comparison of management approaches in deep-seated intracranial arteriovenous malformations: Does treatment improve outcome?

Jaimin Patel, James Feghali, Wuyang Yang, Sarah Rapaport, Abhishek Gami, Shahab Aldin Sattari, Rafael J. Tamargo, Justin M. Caplan, Judy Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Deep-seated intracranial arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) represent a subset of AVMs characterized by variably reported outcomes regarding the risk of hemorrhage, microsurgical complications, and response to stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). We aimed to compare outcomes of microsurgery, SRS, endovascular therapy, and conservative follow-up in deep-seated AVMs. A prospectively maintained database of AVM patients (1990–2017) was queried to identify patients with ruptured and unruptured deep-seated AVMs (extension into thalamus, basal ganglia, or brainstem). Comparisons of hemorrhage-free survival and poor functional outcome (modified Rankin scale [mRS] > 2) were performed between conservative management, microsurgery (±pre-procedural embolization), SRS (±pre-procedural embolization), and embolization utilizing multivariable Cox and logistic regression analyses controlling for univariable factors with p < 0.05. Of 789 AVM patients, 102 had deep-seated AVMs (conservative: 34; microsurgery: 6; SRS: 54; embolization: 8). Mean follow-up time was 6.1 years and did not differ significantly between management groups (p = 0.393). Complete obliteration was achieved in 49% of SRS patients. Upon multivariable analysis controlling for baseline rupture with conservative management as a reference group, embolization was associated with an increased hazard of hemorrhage (HR = 6.2, 95%CI [1.1–40.0], p = 0.037), while microsurgery (p = 0.118) and SRS (p = 0.167) provided no significant protection from hemorrhage. Controlling for baseline mRS, microsurgery was associated with an increased risk of poor outcome (OR = 9.2[1.2–68.3], p = 0.030), while SRS (p = 0.557) and embolization (p = 0.541) did not differ significantly from conservative management. Deep AVMs harbor a high risk of hemorrhage, but the benefit from intervention Remains uncertain. SRS may be a relatively more effective approach if interventional therapy is indicated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-196
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Intracranial arteriovenous malformations
  • Microsurgery
  • Natural history
  • Radiosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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