BackgroundDespite many publications about cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs), controversy remains regarding diagnostic and management strategies.
ObjectiveTo develop guidelines for CCM management.
MethodsThe Angioma Alliance ( www.angioma.org ), the patient support group in the United States advocating on behalf of patients and research in CCM, convened a multidisciplinary writing group comprising expert CCM clinicians to help summarize the existing literature related to the clinical care of CCM, focusing on 5 topics: (1) epidemiology and natural history, (2) genetic testing and counseling, (3) diagnostic criteria and radiology standards, (4) neurosurgical considerations, and (5) neurological considerations. The group reviewed literature, rated evidence, developed recommendations, and established consensus, controversies, and knowledge gaps according to a prespecified protocol.
ResultsOf 1270 publications published between January 1, 1983 and September 31, 2014, we selected 98 based on methodological criteria, and identified 38 additional recent or relevant publications. Topic authors used these publications to summarize current knowledge and arrive at 23 consensus management recommendations, which we rated by class (size of effect) and level (estimate of certainty) according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association criteria. No recommendation was level A (because of the absence of randomized controlled trials), 11 (48%) were level B, and 12 (52%) were level C. Recommendations were class I in 8 (35%), class II in 10 (43%), and class III in 5 (22%).
ConclusionCurrent evidence supports recommendations for the management of CCM, but their generally low levels and classes mandate further research to better inform clinical practice and update these recommendations. The complete recommendations document, including the criteria for selecting reference citations, a more detailed justification of the respective recommendations, and a summary of controversies and knowledge gaps, was similarly peer reviewed and is available on line www.angioma.org/CCMGuidelines .