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Neurology. 2012 Aug 7;79(6):500-7. Epub 2012 Jul 3.

Seizure risk with AVM treatment or conservative management: prospective, population-based study.

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Division of Clinical Neurosciences, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, UK.



To compare the risk of epileptic seizures in adults during conservative management or following invasive treatment for a brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM).


We used annual general practitioner follow-up, patient questionnaires, and medical records surveillance to quantify the 5-year risk of seizures and the chances of achieving 2-year seizure freedom for adults undergoing AVM treatment compared to adults managed conservatively in a prospective, population-based observational study of adults in Scotland, newly diagnosed with an AVM in 1999-2003.


We identified 229 adults with a new diagnosis of an AVM, of whom two-thirds received AVM treatment (154/229; 67%) during 1,862 person-years of follow-up (median completeness of follow-up 97%). There was no significant difference in the proportions with a first or recurrent seizure over 5 years following AVM treatment, compared to the first 5 years following clinical presentation in conservatively managed adults, in analyses stratified by mode of presentation (intracerebral hemorrhage, 35% vs 26%, p = 0.5; seizure, 67% vs 72%, p = 0.6; incidental, 21% vs 10%, p = 0.4). For patients with epilepsy, the chances of achieving 2-year seizure freedom during 5-year follow-up were similar following AVM treatment (n = 39; 52%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 36% to 68%) or conservative management (n = 21; 57%, 95% CI 35% to 79%; p = 0.7).


In this observational study, there was no difference in the 5-year risk of seizures with AVM treatment or conservative management, irrespective of whether the AVM had presented with hemorrhage or epileptic seizures.

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