The authors report two cases of treatment by intraarterial papaverine of cerebral vasospasm complicating the resection of an arteriovenous malformation (AVM). Both cases had successful reversal of vasospasm documented on angiography. In the first case sustained neurological improvement occurred, resulting in a normal outcome by the time of discharge. In the second case, neurological deterioration occurred with the development of cerebral edema. This complication was thought to be due to normal perfusion pressure breakthrough, on the basis of angiographic arterial vasodilation and increased cerebral blood flow. These two cases illustrate an unusual complication of surgery for AVMs and demonstrate that vasospasm (along with intracranial hemorrhage, venous occlusion, and normal perfusion pressure breakthrough) should be considered in the differential diagnosis of delayed neurological deterioration following resection of these lesions. Although intraarterial papaverine may be successful in dilating spastic arteries, it may also result in pathologically high flows following AVM resection. However, this complication has not been seen in our experience of treating aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage by this technique.
- arteriovenous malformation
- normal perfusion pressure breakthrough