The effect of age on arteriovenous malformations in children and young adults undergoing magnetic resonance imaging

Childs Nerv Syst. 2011 Aug;27(8):1273-9. doi: 10.1007/s00381-011-1434-9. Epub 2011 Mar 26.


Objective: Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are the most frequently encountered structural cause of spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage in childhood, excluding hemorrhages of prematurity. The goal of our study was to examine the relationship between age and AVM prevalence on imaging in children, which to date has not been well described.

Methods: We queried the electronic and radiographic records of 14,936 consecutive patients aged 25 years or less who had undergone brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at a single institution over an 11-year period to identify those with a cerebral AVM. We collected age, gender, and other demographic characteristics for all patients. For all patients with a cerebral AVM, we recorded the location, size, drainage pattern, Spetzler-Martin grade, medical history, and presence of neurological symptoms.

Results: Cerebral AVMs were identified in 55 patients (0.37%). The prevalence of AVMs detected on MRI significantly increased with age (p = 0.001). AVMs were found in 0.34% of boys (25 of 7,447) and 0.40% of girls (30 of 7,489). AVMs were most commonly identified in the frontal lobes (36%), followed by parietal (20%) and temporal lobes (13%). Sixty percent (n = 33) of AVMs were less than 3 cm in size, 35% (n = 19) were 3-6 cm in size, and 5.5% (n = 3) were greater than 6 cm in size. As for Spetzler-Martin grade of the AVMs, 25.5% were grade I, 18.2% were grade II, 36.4% were grade III, 16.4% were grade IV, and 3.6% were grade V.

Conclusions: AVMs are seen more frequently on MRI with advancing age in children and young adults.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / epidemiology*
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / pathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult