Silent arteriovenous malformation hemorrhage and the recognition of "unruptured" arteriovenous malformation patients who benefit from surgical intervention
BACKGROUND: Arteriovenous malformation (AVM) patients present in 4 ways relative to hemorrhage: (1) unruptured, without a history or radiographic evidence of old hemorrhage (EOOH); (2) silent hemorrhage, without a bleeding history but with EOOH; (3) ruptured, with acute bleeding but without EOOH; and (4) reruptured, with acute bleeding and EOOH. OBJECTIVE: We hypothesized that characteristics and outcomes in the unrecognized group of silent hemorrhage patients may differ from those of unruptured patients. METHODS: Two hundred forty-two patients operated-on since 1997 were categorized by hemorrhage status and hemosiderin positivity in this cohort study: unruptured (group 1), silent hemorrhage (group 2), and ruptured/reruptured (group 3/4). Group 3/4 was combined because hemosiderin cannot distinguish acute hemorrhage from older silent hemorrhage. RESULTS: Hemosiderin was found in 45% of specimens. Seventy-five patients (31.0%) had unruptured AVMs, 30 (12.4%) had silent hemorrhage, and 137 (56.6%) had ruptured/reruptured AVMs. Deep drainage, posterior fossa location, preoperative modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score, outcome, and macrophage score were different across groups. Only the macrophage score was different between the groups without clinical hemorrhage. Outcomes were better in silent hemorrhage patients than in those with frank rupture (mean mRS scores of 1.2 and 1.7, respectively). CONCLUSION: One-third of patients present with silent AVM hemorrhage. No clinical or anatomic features differentiate these patients from unruptured patients, except the presence of hemosiderin and macrophages. Silent hemorrhage can be diagnosed using magnetic resonance imaging with iron-sensitive imaging. Silent hemorrhage portends an aggressive natural history, and surgery halts progression to rerupture. Good final mRS outcomes and better outcomes than in those with frank rupture support surgery for silent hemorrhage patients, despite the findings of ARUBA.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Abla, Adib A.; Nelson, Jeffrey; Kim, Helen; Hess, Christopher P.; Tihan, Tarik; and Lawton, Michael T., "Silent arteriovenous malformation hemorrhage and the recognition of "unruptured" arteriovenous malformation patients who benefit from surgical intervention" (2015). Neurosurgery. 1110.