Cerebral developmental venous anomalies: current concepts

Ann Neurol. 2009 Sep;66(3):271-83. doi: 10.1002/ana.21754.


Cerebral developmental venous anomalies are the most frequently encountered cerebral vascular malformation, and as such, are frequently reported as fortuitous findings in computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies. Developmental venous anomalies (DVAs) are generally considered extreme anatomical variations of the cerebral vasculature, and follow a benign clinical course in the vast majority of cases. Here we review current concepts on DVAs with the aim of helping clinicians understand this complex entity. Morphological characteristics that are necessary to conceptualize DVAs are discussed in depth. Images modalities used in diagnosing DVAs are reviewed, including new MRI or CT techniques. Clinical presentation, association with other vascular malformations and cerebral parenchymal abnormalities, and possible physiopathological processes leading to associated imaging or clinical findings are discussed. Atypical forms of DVAs are also reviewed and their clinical significance discussed. Finally, recommendations as to how to manage asymptomatic or symptomatic patients with a DVA are advanced.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arteriovenous Fistula / diagnosis
  • Arteriovenous Fistula / physiopathology
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Central Nervous System Venous Angioma / diagnosis*
  • Central Nervous System Venous Angioma / physiopathology
  • Cerebral Angiography / methods
  • Cerebral Angiography / statistics & numerical data
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / diagnosis
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / physiopathology
  • Cerebral Veins / abnormalities*
  • Cerebral Veins / physiopathology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / diagnosis
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / physiopathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods