Sensitivity of CT angiography, T2-weighted MRI, and magnetic resonance angiography in detecting cerebral arteriovenous malformations and associated aneurysms

J Clin Neurosci. 2012 Aug;19(8):1093-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2011.11.021. Epub 2012 Jun 15.


An increasing number of patients with arteriovenous malformations (AVM) are being screened with expedient, safe, and non-invasive methods such as computed tomography angiography (CTA), MRI, and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). Only a paucity of small series have examined the sensitivity of these modalities in detecting AVMs. In this study, we reviewed 125 patients with AVMs, demonstrating overall sensitivities of 90% for CTA, 89% for T2-weighted MRI, and 74% for MRA. The greater sensitivity of CTA in detecting AVMs compared to MRA did meet statistical significance (p(CTA, MRA)=0.036). For unruptured AVMs, the sensitivities were 96%, 97% and 71% (p(CTA, MRA)=0.043) and for ruptured AVMs, they were 87%, 83% and 77%, respectively. The sensitivity was 100% for both CTA and T2-weighted MRI for AVMs larger than 3 cm. Importantly, associated aneurysms were best detected via CTA, with a sensitivity of 88%, as compared to 29% for MRI and 27% for MRA (p(CTA, MRA)=1.2×10(-6)), with the greatest distinction occurring within the subgroup of intranidal aneurysms with a sensitivity of 83% for CTA compared to 0% for both MRI and MRA (p(CTA, MRA)=0.005).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging*
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / diagnostic imaging*
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Young Adult