Medical Malpractice Litigation Involving Arteriovenous Malformations of the Central Nervous System

Rohin Singh, Nathan A. Shlobin, Rachel A. Romaniuk, Kaiwen Luan, Paola Suarez-Meade, Matthew B. Potts, Fredric B. Meyer, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: To comprehensively analyze malpractice claims relating to arteriovenous malformations. Methods: Westlaw and LexisNexis databases were cross-referenced to obtain a comprehensive list of medical malpractice lawsuits related to arteriovenous malformations. The initial search yielded 147 results, of which 78 were considered eligible for analysis. Results: Plaintiff age was reported in 16 cases (mean age 30.9 ± 19.9 years). In 53 cases, the location of the lesions was reported: 38 (90.9%) were intracranial, and 15 (28.3%) were spinal. The main complaints were medical error (34 cases, 43.6%), failure to diagnose (33 cases, 42.3%), failure to treat (20, 25.6%), misdiagnosis (7 cases, 9.0%), lack of informed consent (7 cases, 9.0%), and other causes (11 cases, 14.1%). The medical specialties most commonly involved were neurosurgery (22 cases, 34.4%), radiology (16 cases, 25.0%), and neurology (10 cases, 15.6%). Neurosurgeons were more frequently sued than neurologists (P = 0.01) but not radiologists (P = 0.25). The court rulings included in favor of the defendant in 23 cases (29.5%), in favor of the plaintiff in 6 cases (7.7%), a settlement in 27 cases (34.6%), mediation in 1 case (1.3%), and unknown/other in 21 cases (26.9%). Rulings in favor of the defendant (P = 0.0005) or settlements (P < 0.0001) were more frequent than rulings in favor of the plaintiff, but there was no difference in rulings in favor of the defendant compared with settlements (P = 0.69). Conclusions: While the courts rule in favor of defendants more than plaintiffs, the time and psychological demands of litigation place a high burden on physicians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e601-e607
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Arteriovenous malformations
  • Jurisprudence
  • Malpractice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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