Association of cerebral arteriovenous malformations and spontaneous occlusion of major feeding arteries: Clinical and therapeutic implications

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Objective: The spontaneous occlusion of a cerebral arteriovenous malformation (AVM) occurs rarely. Occlusion of a parent artery feeding the AVM is even more rare, and its incidence is unknown. We undertook this study to determine the incidence of occlusion of a major artery feeding an AVM and to recommend a management strategy for such an AVM.
Methods: We identified AVMs associated with an occluded artery by performing a retrospective angiographic analysis of 500 patients with AVMs who presented to Henry Ford Hospital from 1976 to 1998.
Results: A review of the angiograms revealed that 7 (1.4%) of 500 patients with an AVM had occlusion of one or more major arteries feeding the nidus. In four patients, an internal carotid artery and its bifurcation were occluded; in two patients, the M1 segment of the middle cerebral artery was occluded, and in one patient, a vertebral artery was occluded. Pial collaterals and/or a moyamoya pattern of anastomoses developed in all patients, with the exception of one who had vertebral artery occlusion. Five patients underwent definitive treatment: one received radiosurgery, and four underwent surgical excision. One of the surgically treated patients died of complications from excessive blood loss and coagulopathy, but the other three had no postoperative complications.
Conclusion: The occlusion of a major artery feeding an AVM occurs rarely (1.4%). These AVMs are moderate to large in size (>3 cm). To prevent collateral flow-related complications of cortical "steal" and hemorrhage, as well as the usual risk of hemorrhage from the AVM itself, surgical management should be considered for these AVMs.