Three-dimensional rotational angiography in the assessment of the angioarchitecture of brain arteriovenous malformations

J Neuroradiol. 2011 Jul;38(3):167-74. doi: 10.1016/j.neurad.2010.08.005. Epub 2011 Jan 21.


Background and purpose: The angioarchitecture of brain arteriovenous malformations (BAVM) still remains a complex subject of study despite advances in medical imaging techniques. For this reason, the present study aimed to assess whether or not 3D rotational angiography (3DXA) might improve the assessment of BAVM.

Patients and methods: Included prospectively were 72 patients who had undergone conventional digital subtraction angiography (DSA) and 3DXA for pretherapeutic assessment of BAVM prior to radiosurgery. Dimensional criteria, arterial-feed patterns, venous drainage, points of weakness and vascular densities (VD) of the nidus and shunt zone were studied.

Results: 3DXA detected all arteriovenous shunts by revealing abnormal venous enhancement. Post-processing tools similar to CT and MRI may also be used to make complex 3D reconstructions. In addition, the technique provided significant help for volumetric estimations, extraction of arterial feeders and origins of draining veins, and analysis of the 3D conformation of the nidus. Furthermore, 3DXA detected significantly more points of weakness, such as intranidus aneurysms and venous anomalies (P<0.005). In 65% of cases, a gradient of vascular enhancement intensity was found between the arteries and draining veins surrounding or comprising the nidus. VD, or the percentages of space occupied by the enhanced vascular elements, was evaluated in both the nidus and shunt zone. VD in the shunt zone was highest in untreated patients with no history of bleeding (P<0.005).

Conclusion: 3DXA offers a useful approach to BAVM exploration and can improve our knowledge of lesional angioarchitecture, necessary for the planning of therapeutic strategies.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Angiography, Digital Subtraction
  • Cerebral Angiography / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / diagnostic imaging*
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / therapy
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Statistics, Nonparametric