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Radiosurgery Can Decrease or Eliminate Headaches

Headache; ePub 2017 Feb 20; Bowden, et al

Headache symptoms associated with arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) may potentially be decreased or eliminated in a subset of patients treated with radiosurgery, according to a recent study. This retrospective study analyzed 102 patients with AVMs who underwent stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) between 1995 and 2013. The patient's headache symptoms led to their AVM diagnosis or developed post-hemorrhage of their AVM. Information regarding headache characteristics was obtained from the patient's medical records and at follow-up using a scripted clinical interview. Researchers found:

  • The actuarial AVM obliteration rate was 60% at 5 years and 78% at 10 years.
  • Patients reported that their overall headache severity decreased by −43.6% and their headache frequency was reduced by −53.4%.
  • Headache reduction was reported in 49.1% of patients at 1 year and 69.5% at 5 years.
  • The median time until improvement was 6.5 months.
  • After SRS, headache medication usage decreased in 29% of patients.


Bowden G, Cavaleri J, Kano H, et al. Radiosurgery for arteriovenous malformations and the impact on headaches. [Published online ahead of print February 20, 2017]. Headache. doi:10.1111/head.13055.