Radiosurgery for arteriovenous malformations in children

Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol, Bruce E. Pollock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Scopus citations


Object. The authors present the results of stereotactic radiosurgery performed in a consecutive series of children with arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and analyze factors associated with successful radiosurgery for this condition. Methods. Between 1990 and 2001, 38 patients 18 years of age or younger underwent radiosurgery for AVMs. The median patient age was 15 years; 20 patients (53%) had experienced a prior hemorrhage. Twenty-seven AVMs (71%) were Spetzler-Martin Grade III or higher; 16 patients (42%) had AVMs located in the basal ganglia, thalamus, or brainstem. The median AVM volume was 3.4 cm 3. The median radiosurgery-based AVM score was 1.08 according to the following formula: AVM score = 0.1 volume (cm3) + 0.02 x age (years) + 0.3 x location (frontal/temporal = 0; parietal/occipital/corpus callosum/cerebellar = 1; basal ganglia/thalamus/brainstem = 2). The median follow-up period was 42 months. One patient (3%) had an intraventricular hemorrhage 26 months after radiosurgery but experienced no new deficit. No patient had a permanent radiation-related complication after radiosurgery. Twenty-six patients (68%) had excellent outcomes (as defined by complete obliteration of the AVM with no new deficit) after radiosurgical treatment (21 cases determined using angiography and five using magnetic resonance imaging). Twelve patients (32%) remained unchanged (incomplete obliteration but no new deficit). Univariate analysis found that patient age, AVM volume, location, or Spetzler-Martin grade did not correlate with excellent outcomes. Patients whose radiosurgery-based AVM scores were 1 or lower experienced an excellent outcome more frequently than patients with an AVM score higher than 1 (88% compared with 52%, p = 0.03). Conclusions. Radiosurgery was successful in the treatment of the majority of pediatric patients suffering from AVMs, and morbidity levels were minimal. The radiosurgery-based AVM grading scale accurately predicted these outcomes. Children whose AVMs are obliterated after radiosurgery should undergo repeated angiography after they reach adulthood to rule out the possibility of a recurrent nidus that would expose them to an ongoing risk of hemorrhage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-391
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue numberSUPPL. 6
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Arteriovenous malformation
  • Grading scale
  • Pediatric neurosurgery
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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