Complication-effectiveness analysis for brain arteriovenous malformation surgery

a prospective cohort study

Michael Kerin Morgan*, Markus Wiedmann, Nazih N. Assaad, Gillian Z. Heller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Intervention for brain arteriovenous malformations (bAVMs) should aim at treatment that is safe and effective. OBJECTIVE: To analyze a prospective database to derive the probability of neurological deficit and adjust this risk for effectively treated bAVMs (complication-effectiveness analysis [CEA]). Methods: First, we calculated the percentage of surgical complications leading to a modified Rankin Scale >1 at 12 months after surgery for each Spetzler-Ponce class (SPC). Second, we performed a sensitivity analysis of these results by including bAVMs not undergoing surgery, to correct for bias. Third, we established the long-term cumulative incidence of freedom from recurrence from Kaplan-Meier analysis. Finally, we combined the results to calculate the risk of surgery per effective treatment in a complication-effectiveness analysis. Results: Seven hundred seventy-nine patients underwent 641 microsurgical resections. Complications of surgery leading to a modified Rankin Scale >1 at 12 months occurred in 1.4% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.5-3.3), 20% (95% CI: 15-26), and 41% (95% CI: 30-52) of SPC A, SPC B, and SPC C, respectively. The cumulative 9-year freedom from recurrence was 97% for SPC A and 92% for other bAVMs. The 9-year CEA risk was 1.4% (credible range: 0.5%-3.4%) for SPC A, 22% to 24% (credible range: 16%-31%) for SPC B, and 45% to 63% (credible range: 33%-73%) for SPC C bAVM. Conclusion: CEA presents the treatment outcome in the context of efficacy and provides a basis for comparing outcomes from techniques with different times to elimination of the bAVM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-57
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Arteriovenous malformation
  • Brain
  • Cohort study
  • Risks
  • Surgery

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