Diagnosis and treatment of vascular brain-stem malformations

J Neurosurg. 1990 Jan;72(1):27-34. doi: 10.3171/jns.1990.72.1.0027.


Vascular malformations are a common cause of spontaneous brain-stem hemorrhage in young normotensive individuals. These lesions are no longer cryptic. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging has renewed interest in the treatment of this disorder because of the precise accuracy in diagnosis and localization of these lesions that it affords. The MR image demonstrates characteristic findings of multiple hemorrhages of varying ages surrounded by a hypointense peripheral zone of hemosiderin. Five cases of vascular brain-stem malformation diagnosed with MR imaging are described. The vascular malformations could be demonstrated as "flow void" areas in three cases. Three patients were treated surgically and vascular malformations were confirmed: all three patients improved postoperatively. Two patients were treated nonsurgically; one of these recovered from a second hemorrhage and the other experienced neurological deterioration after a single hemorrhage. High-energy radiotherapy was not effective for the one vascular malformation treated by this method. This experience suggests that surgical exploration should be considered for vascular brain-stem malformations when the diagnosis is confirmed by MR criteria and the clinical course and lesion are both progressive in character.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Stem / blood supply*
  • Brain Stem / pathology
  • Brain Stem / surgery
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / diagnosis
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / complications
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / diagnosis*
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / surgery
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / therapy
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male