Brainstem cavernous malformation (BCM) account for 8-22% of all intracranial cavernomas. Currently, they can be treated microsurgically or conservative but it is still difficult to choose the best treatment for each patient. The main objective of our series was to evaluate the long-term functional outcome and recurrence in patients with BCM treated with conservative or surgical treatments.
Hypothesis: We assessed the hypothesis that surgical and conservative treatments are associated with different functional outcome and re-hemorrhage rate in long-term follow-up.
Methods: In this non-randomized, clinical series, we compared the clinical and radiological findings of patients with their first hemorrhage secondary to confirmed BCM, treated in a tertiary neurological center, during a twenty five- year period. Treatment of each patient was selected by the attending physician and consisted of either conservative or surgical evacuation of BCM. The primary end-points were recurrent hemorrhage and functional outcome. Favorable prognosis was defined as modified Rankin scale (mRs) of 0 to 2.
Results: From January of 1990 to July of 2015; 99 patients with BCM hemorrhage were treated (59 [59,6%] female; mean age 37± 13 years). 37 patients (37,4%) were surgically treated and 62 (62,6%) received conservative treatment. During the follow-up; 20 patients in the medical group (median time of recurrence: 34,5 months; IQR: 13,75-93) and 4 patients in the surgical group (median time of recurrence: 22 months; IQR: 9-46,5) had a recurrence (OR: 0,255; 95% IC: 0,079-0,817), with a cumulative incidence of 5,1 per 100 years-person and 3,96 per 100 years-person respectively. Because of rebleeding, 11 patients of the conservative group were taken to surgery and 3 of the surgical group were to required re-intervention. At the end of follow-up (median: 51 months; IQR: 19-104) 51 patients remained in the conservative group and 28 (54,9%) had a favorable mRs. 48 patients remained in the surgical group and 27 (56,2%) had a favorable mRs (OR:0,94 95% IC: 0,42-2,09).
Conclusion: Despite a significant high recurrent hemorrhage rate was observed in conservative treated patients, we did not found difference in clinical outcome between both groups of patients with BCM.