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Case series
Morbidity and mortality associated with sequential flow reduction embolization technique of cerebral arteriovenous malformations using n-butyl cyanoacrylate


Background Endovascular embolization of cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVM) with liquid n-butyl cyanoacrylate (n-BCA) serves multiple purposes including AVM occlusion and flow reduction in preparation for other treatment modalities. The objective was to study the clinical, structural, and angiographic factors affecting complications associated with AVM treatment by sequential n-BCA embolizations for nidal occlusion versus quantitative flow reduction in preparation for surgical resection or radiosurgery.

Methods We performed a retrospective review of all patients who underwent endovascular embolization of cerebral AVM at our institution between 1998 and 2019, during which time the technique of traditional embolization evolved to a strategy of targeted sequential flow reduction guided by serial flow imaging based on quantitative magnetic resonance angiography, in conjunction with a shift away from nidal penetration.

Results Among 251 patients, 47.8% of patients presented with ruptured AVM. On average, each patient underwent 2.4 embolizations, for a total of 613 sessions. Major morbidity related to embolization occurred in 18 (7.2%) patients, but this occurred disproportionately in the traditional embolization strategy (n=16, 8%) in contrast with the flow-targeting strategy (n=2, 3.8%). Four patients (1.6%) died in the overall group, and these all occurred with the traditional embolization strategy (2% of 199 patients); no deaths occurred in the flow-targeting strategy (n=52).

Conclusion Embolization with n-BCA targeted to sequential flow reduction and feeder occlusion with limited nidal penetration prior to definitive surgical or radiosurgical treatment can be safely performed with low overall morbidity and mortality.

  • arteriovenous malformation
  • intervention
  • liquid embolic material
  • magnetic resonance angiography
  • technique

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