The natural history of intracranial venous angiomas

J Neurosurg. 1991 Nov;75(5):715-22. doi: 10.3171/jns.1991.75.5.0715.


Cerebral venous angiomas are congenital anomalies of the intracranial venous drainage. Many believe that they are associated with a high risk of hemorrhage and neurological dysfunction, but newer neurodiagnostic imaging techniques are showing not only that they are more common than previously known but also that many have no associated symptoms. In this retrospective study, the natural history of venous angiomas was examined in 100 patients (48 males and 52 females) with radiographically identifiable lesions treated over a 14-year period. Information on the natural history of the lesion was obtained from clinical records and follow-up data. Imaging studies included angiography, computerized tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging. Angioma locations were classified as frontal (42 cases), parietal (24 cases), occipital (4 cases), temporal (2 cases), basal or ventricular (11 cases), cerebellar (14 cases), or brain stem (3 cases); 47 lesions were on the left side. Headache as a presenting symptom was common (36 patients) and often led to other radiographic studies, but this appeared to be related to the vascular lesion in only four patients. Other possibly related complications were hemorrhage in one patient, seizures in five, and transient focal deficits in eight. Fifteen patients had no neurological signs or symptoms. The mean patient age at last contact was 45.3 years (range 3 to 94 years). All patients have been managed without surgery. It is concluded that significant complications secondary to venous angiomas are infrequent and that surgical resection of these lesions and of surrounding brain is rarely indicated.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Neoplasms / complications
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Cerebral Veins / abnormalities*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hemangioma / complications
  • Hemangioma / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seizures / etiology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed