Intracranial arteriovenous malformations in childhood: Presentation, management and outcome

Douglas C. Bills, Jeffrey V. Rosenfeld, Ethna M. Phelan, Geoffrey L. Klug

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Cases of true intracranial arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) presenting over a 25 year period were reviewed in order to achieve a better understanding of the behaviour and management of AVMs in children. There were 69 cases, presenting with haemorrhage (78%), seizures (13%) cardiac failure (3%) and focal signs with or without headache (6%). It was less common to present under six years of age. CT scanning, where performed, always demonstrated an abnormality, but this was suggestive of an AVM in less than one third. By contrast, angiography defined the lesion in 82% of initial studies. 59 patients underwent a surgical procedure directed at their AVM or an associated haematoma. Total AVM excision was obtained in 65%, with none of these later rebleeding. Three patients presenting solely with seizures were not operated upon initially, but underwent successful resections of their lesions after later haemorrhages. There were 6 (9%) deaths in the series, with focal deficits in 52% of survivors at last follow up. In the operative group these figures were 3% and 51%, respectively. None of the eight patients operated upon prior to a clinical bleed suffered a new neurological deficit. The role of stereotactic radiosurgery, although not used in any of our cases, is discussed. We believe that our results support an aggressive surgical approach to childhood AVMs, regardless of presentation, given the significant risk of morbidity from a later bleed, and the lack of a clearly better outcome with expectant management or irradiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-228
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Angiography
  • Arteriovenous malformation
  • Paediatric
  • Spetzler grade
  • Tamaki grade

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