Safety and outcome of combined endovascular and surgical management of low grade cerebral arteriovenous malformations in children compared to surgery alone

Anas S. Al-Smadi, Sameer A. Ansari, Tahaamin Shokuhfar, Aresha Malani, Saadia Sattar, Michael C. Hurley, Matthew B. Potts, Babak S. Jahromi, Tord D. Alden, Arthur J. Dipatri, Ali Shaibani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate the outcomes of combined preoperative embolization and microsurgical resection in comparison with microsurgical resection alone as the current standard of care for low-grade cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVM) in the pediatric population. Materials & methods: We performed a single-center retrospective study of pediatric patients presenting with Spetzler-Martin (SM) grade I and II cerebral AVMs at a high-volume tertiary pediatric hospital between January 2005 and September 2016. Low grade AVM patients were divided into two groups: pre-operative embolization with subsequent microsurgical resection or microsurgical resection alone. Patient demographics, clinical and imaging presentations, AVM morphological characteristics, post-operative complications, and mid to long-term clinical outcomes were studied. Post-embolization and post-surgical outcomes were assessed prior to and after treatment, at 3 months and at final follow-up using the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) to compare both final independent (mRS 0–2) and favorable (no change or improved mRS) clinical outcomes for comparison between study groups. Statistical associations of patient demographics, AVM characteristics/SM grading, and treatment modality group with post-operative complications were performed using univariate logistic regression analysis. Results: Thirty-four patients with low grade cerebral AVMs met the study inclusion criteria (mean age 10.6 ± 3.4 years; range 3–16 years, 22M:12 F). Twenty patients (59%) presented with ruptured AVMs. Twenty-five patients (73.5%) underwent combined treatment with embolization and microsurgical resection, while 9/34 (26.5%) underwent microsurgical resection alone. A total of 35 embolization procedures performed in 25 patients (Mode, 1; Range, 1–7) were associated with two minor post-embolization and 7 subsequent post-surgical (28%) complications, resulting in clinical deterioration in a single patient. Microsurgical resection alone was associated with 3 post-surgical complications (33%), resulting in permanent neurological disability in a single patient. There was no significance association of post-operative complications with either treatment modality group, combined treatment versus surgical resection alone [OR:1.13; 95% CI:0.23–5.62; p-value 0.88]. SM Grade II and eloquent locations were found to be significantly associated with post-surgical complications of low grade pediatric cerebral AVMs [OR 13.2 and OR 8 respectively, p-value 0.004 and 0.005). On mean follow-up time of 35.7 months, final clinical outcome was favorable in the majority of both treatment arms with no dependent (mRS>2) patients in the combined endovascular and surgical cohort. Two patients in the surgical cohort failed to achieve independent functional status, primarily due to a pre-operative morbid status (p-value 0.015). However, there was no significant difference in favorable outcomes between the treatment groups [p-value 0.14]. Conclusion: Our study suggests equivalent safety and favorable clinical outcomes related to combined endovascular embolization and microsurgical resection of low grade pediatric cerebral AVMs in comparison to microsurgical resection alone. On long term clinical follow-up, the vast majority of patients achieved an independent and favorable functional status irrespective of pre-operative embolization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-13
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean journal of radiology
StatePublished - Jul 2019


  • Arteriovenous malformation
  • Brain
  • Endovascular embolization
  • Microsurgical resection
  • Pediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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