Cerebral Cavernous Malformations: Patient-Reported Outcome Validates Conservative Management

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Background: Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM) are clusters of dilated sinusoidal channels lined by a single layer of endothelium. In contradistinction to arteriovenous malformations, these lesions do not have smooth muscle or elastin in their lining and they are angiographically occult, and the MRI is the most sensitive test for CCM detection. CCM are one of the most prevalent vascular malformations of the central nervous system, affecting about 0.4-0.6% of the general population. The main complication of this malformation is the risk of bleeding, which may cause neurological deficits that affect the quality of life (QoL) in patients. When symtomatic, they may be surgically treated for relieving the mass effect and seizures refractory to drug uses, hemorrhage and drug-refractory epilepsy. Patient-reported outcome (PRO) may be a strategy that can be used to evaluate QoL of CCM population and was used in a sample of non-operated patients. Methods: An observational, cross-sectional analysis to evaluate the PRO using the SF-36 and EuroQol 5 dimensions (EQ-5D) questionnaires of QoL added to functional metrics using the Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) in 49 patients not submitted to intervention and with long-term follow-up. Results: During the 364 person-years of follow-up, there was an average of individual follow-up of 7.42 years. The mean age was 46.8 years (18-84) - 57% of them were female, 71% had superficial lesions, and 65% had the familial form. Comparisons of SF-36 dimensions with KPS graded <100 had a worse score only in terms of the pain (p = 0.04), vitality (p = 0.001), and general state of health (p = 0.03) domains. The domain mental health was worse in patients without surgical indication (p = 0.032). The functional capacity domain had the highest overall grading in the group. The EQ-5D dimensions of mobility (p = 0.03) and pain/discomfort (p = 0.001) were the ones with lower score compared to KPS <100. Conclusion: The study is the first to evaluate, with validated tools, the PRO of non-operated CCM patients and has demonstrated in a selected group of patients that it was possible to achieve long-term clinical stability, thereby maintaining QoL and functional neurological outcome.

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