What is the best therapeutic approach to a pediatric patient with a deep-seated brain AVM?

  • Torstein R. MelingEmail author
  • Gildas Patet
Short Review


Although brain arteriovenous malformations (bAVMs) account for a very small proportion of cerebral pathologies in the pediatric population, they are the cause of roughly 50% of spontaneous intracranial hemorrhages. Pediatric bAVMs tend to rupture more frequently and seem to have higher recurrence rates than bAVMs in adults. Thus, the management of pediatric bAVMs is particularly challenging. In general, the treatment options are conservative treatment, microsurgery, endovascular therapy (EVT), gamma knife radiosurgery (GKRS), proton-beam stereotactic radiosurgery (PSRS), or a combination of the above. In order to identify the best approach to deep-seated pediatric bAVMs, we performed a systematic review, according to the PRISMA guidelines. None of the options seem to offer a clear advantage over the others when used alone. Microsurgery provides the highest obliteration rate, but has higher incidence of neurological complications. EVT may play a role when used as adjuvant therapy, but as a stand-alone therapy, the efficacy is low and the long-term side effects of radiation from the multiple sessions required in deep-seated pediatric bAVMs are still unknown. GKRS has a low risk of complication, but the obliteration rates still leave much to be desired. Finally, PSRS offers promising results with a more accurate radiation that avoids the surrounding tissue, but data is limited due to its recent introduction. Overall, a multi-modal approach, or even an active surveillance, might be the most suitable when facing deep-seated bAVM, considering the difficulty of their management and the high risk of complications in the pediatric population.


Deep-seated arteriovenous malformations Microsurgery Endovascular treatment Gamma knife radiation surgery Proton beam stereotactic radiosurgery Review 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approved

Not applicable as no new patients were involved in this research.

Informed consent

Not applicable as no new patients were involved in this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Division of NeurosurgeryGeneva University HospitalsGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  3. 3.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  4. 4.Department of NeurosurgeryOslo University HospitalOsloNorway

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