Arteriovenous malformation presenting with epilepsy: a multimodal approach to diagnosis and treatment

Sauson Soldozy, Pedro Norat, Kaan Yağmurlu, Jennifer D Sokolowski, Khadijeh A Sharifi, Petr Tvrdik, Min S Park, M Yashar S Kalani
Neurosurgical Focus 2020 April 1, 48 (4): E17
Arteriovenous malformation (AVM) presenting with epilepsy significantly impacts patient quality of life, and it should be considered very much a seizure disorder. Although hemorrhage prevention is the primary treatment aim of AVM surgery, seizure control should also be at the forefront of therapeutic management. Several hemodynamic and morphological characteristics of AVM have been identified to be associated with seizure presentation. This includes increased AVM flow, presence of long pial draining vein, venous outflow obstruction, and frontotemporal location, among other aspects. With the advent of high-throughput image processing and quantification methods, new radiographic attributes of AVM-related epilepsy have been identified. With respect to therapy, several treatment approaches are available, including conservative management or interventional modalities; this includes microsurgery, radiosurgery, and embolization or a combination thereof. Many studies, especially in the domain of microsurgery and radiosurgery, evaluate both techniques with respect to seizure outcomes. The advantage of microsurgery lies in superior AVM obliteration rates and swift seizure response. In addition, by incorporating electrophysiological monitoring during AVM resection, adjacent or even remote epileptogenic foci can be identified, leading to extended lesionectomy and improved seizure control. Radiosurgery, despite resulting in reduced AVM obliteration and prolonged time to seizure freedom, avoids the risks of surgery altogether and may provide seizure control through various antiepileptic mechanisms. Embolization continues to be used as an adjuvant for both microsurgery and radiosurgery. In this study, the authors review the latest imaging techniques in characterizing AVM-related epilepsy, in addition to reviewing each treatment modality.

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