Multicenter assessment of morbidity associated with cerebral arteriovenous malformation hemorrhages

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The optimal management strategy for unruptured cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) is controversial since the ARUBA trial (A Randomized trial of Unruptured Brain AVMs). An accurate understanding of the morbidity associated with AVM hemorrhages may help clinicians to formulate the best treatment strategy for unruptured AVMs.


To determine the morbidity associated with initial cerebral AVM rupture in patients presenting to tertiary medical centers.


Retrospective chart reviews from three tertiary academic medical centers were performed for the period between 2008 and 2014. All patients admitted with intracranial hemorrhage due to untreated AVMs were included in this study. Patient-specific variables, including demographics, imaging characteristics, neurologic examination results, and clinical outcome, were analyzed and recorded.


101 Patients met the inclusion criteria. Admission National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) scores were 0, 1–9, and ≥10 in 26%, 29%, and 45% of patients, respectively. Hematoma locations were subarachnoid, intraventricular, intraparenchymal, and combined in 5%, 11%, 32%, and 52% of patients, respectively. Deep venous drainage was present in 43% of AVMs; AVM-associated aneurysms were present in 44% of patients. Emergent hematoma evacuations were performed in 37% of patients and 8% of patients died while in hospital. At discharge, of those who survived, NIHSS scores of ≥1 and ≥10 were found in 69% and 23%, respectively. At the 90-day follow-up, 34% had a modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score >2. Patients with admission NIHSS score ≥10 had significantly higher rates of midline shift, surgical hematoma evacuation, and follow-up mRS ≥3 (p<0.05).


The morbidity associated with cerebral AVM rupture appeared to be higher in our study than previously reported. Morbidity from AVM rupture should be considered as an important factor, together with variables such as risk of AVM rupture and procedural risk, in determining the optimal treatment strategy for unruptured cerebral AVMs.

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