Comparative analysis of arteriovenous malformation grading scales in predicting outcomes after stereotactic radiosurgery

Bruce E. Pollock, Curtis B. Storlie, Michael J. Link, Scott L. Stafford, Yolanda I. Garces, Robert L. Foote

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Successful stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for the treatment of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) results in nidus obliteration without new neurological deficits related to either intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) or radiationinduced complications (RICs). In this study the authors compared 5 AVM grading scales (Spetzler-Martin grading scale, radiosurgery-based AVM score [RBAS], Heidelberg score, Virginia Radiosurgery AVM Scale [VRAS], and proton radiosurgery AVM scale [PRAS]) at predicting outcomes after SRS. METHODS: The study group consisted of 381 patients with sporadic AVMs who underwent Gamma Knife SRS between January 1990 and December 2009; none of the patients underwent prior radiation therapy. The primary end point was AVM obliteration without a decline in modifed Rankin Scale (mRS) score (excellent outcome). Comparison of the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) and accuracy was performed between the AVM grading scales and the best linear regression model (generalized linear model, elastic net [GLMnet]). RESULTS: The median radiological follow-up after initial SRS was 77 months; the median clinical follow-up was 93 months. AVM obliteration was documented in 297 patients (78.0%). Obliteration was 59% at 4 years and 85% at 8 years. Fifty-fve patients (14.4%) had a decline in mRS score secondary to RICs (n = 29, 7.6%) or ICH (n = 26, 6.8%). The mRS score declined by 10% at 4 years and 15% at 8 years. Overall, 274 patients (71.9%) had excellent outcomes. There was no difference between the AUC for the GLMnet (0.69 [95% CI 0.64-0.75]), RBAS (0.68 [95% CI 0.62-0.74]), or PRAS (0.69 [95% CI 0.62-0.74]). Pairwise comparison for accuracy showed no difference between the GLMnet and the RBAS (p = 0.08) or PRAS (p = 0.16), but it did show a significant difference between the GLMnet and the Spetzler-Martin grading system (p < 0.001), Heidelberg score (p < 0.001), and the VRAS (p < 0.001). The RBAS and the PRAS were more accurate when compared with the Spetzler-Martin grading scale (p = 0.03 and p = 0.01), Heidelberg score (p = 0.02 and p = 0.02), and VRAS (p = 0.03 and p = 0.02). CONCLUSIONS: SRS provides AVM obliteration without functional decline in the majority of treated patients. AVM grading scales having continuous scores (RBAS and PRAS) outperformed integer-based grading systems in the prediction of AVM obliteration without mRS score decline after SRS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)852-858
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2017


  • Arteriovenous malformation
  • Complication
  • Grading scale
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery
  • Vascular disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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