Assessment of intracranial arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) by conventional catheter angiography carries risks; moreover, this invasive procedure is often repeated for follow-up. We investigated the clinical applicability of two-dimensional thick-slice, contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance digital subtraction angiography (2D MRDSA) with high temporal resolution in the assessment of AVMs. We performed 78 2D MRDSA studies of treated or untreated small to medium-size AVMs on a 1.5 tesla imager. Two observers independently evaluated demonstration of nidus flow void on T2-weighted images and each component of the AVM on 2D MRDSA employing a three-point grading scale. In 55 patients with AVMs, the mean ratings of nidus flow voids, feeding vessels, nidi, draining vessels and early venous filling on MRI were 2.8, 2.4, 2.6, 2.8 and 2.8, respectively. sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values for an AVM using 2D MRDSA were 87, 100, 100 and 78%, respectively and for nidus flow voids on T2-weighted images 80, 91, 96 and 66%, respectively. 2D MRDSA can thus demonstrate haemodynamic features of AVMs. It can be employed as a less invasive, dynamic angiographic tool for follow-up of AVMs previously delineated by catheter angiography.