OBJECTIVE: Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) and especially cavernous malformations (CMs) in highly eloquent brain areas such as brainstem CMs are rare but possible events during pregnancy. Due to the few published cases in literature clear recommendations regarding the management are rare. In this study we evaluate the proceeding decision in pregnant patients with highly eloquent brainstem CMs.
METHODS: In our series 43 patients with CMs in highly eloquent brain areas, including 39 patients with brainstem CMs, were surgically treated by the senior author between July 2007 and July 2010. Out of these, 29 patients were female and three of them presented with a symptomatic brainstem CMs during pregnancy and were included in this study. According to our experiences and to the available literature we analyzed demographic and clinical variables to provide recommendations for the management of pregnant patients with highly eloquent brainstem CMs.
RESULTS: Only one patient was operated during pregnancy the other two patients were surgically treated after delivery, respectively. A thorough review of the literature revealed 12 patients with brainstem cavernomas during pregnancy there of only two patients were operated during pregnancy.
CONCLUSION: Surgical treatment during pregnancy is rarely required, but needs to be performed right away in life-threatening and rapidly progressive clinical situations. Pregnant women with CMs in highly eloquent brain areas such as brainstem CMs need to be treated in specialized centers to assess the best point of time for surgery. Our study offers a useful tool to support the proceeding decision in this rare but important situation.