Vascular malformations of the brain

Handb Clin Neurol. 2013:112:1043-51. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-52910-7.00022-2.


Pediatric neurovascular malformations are rare. However, proper diagnosis and management are mandatory to achieve a good neurocognitive outcome. Among them several types can be identified with specificities for each. In the newborn and infancy, the most frequent cerebral venous malformation is vein of Galen aneurysmal malformation. It can be discovered antenatally, in neonates (mainly in cases with hemodynamic impact), or in infants presenting with macrocrania and hydrocephalus. Treatment of choice is endovascular, by transarterial selective occlusion of pathological vessels. Interventions are staged with a first session at around 5 months, adjusted to neurological development. Late consequences, especially if left untreated or treated outside the therapeutic window, are delayed neurocognitive development and seizures. Pial arteriovenous malformation can also be diagnosed antenatally. Regional parenchymal destruction could occur in the first months of life, requiring early endovascular treatment. Dural sinus malformations are the third main type of neurovascular malformation, and are also diagnosed antenatally or in the first months of life. Cardiac tolerance is usually good. Adverse consequences are mainly neurocognitive delay due to chronic venous hyperpressure or acute hemorrhage due to thrombosis of the pathological sinuses. Nidal-type brain arteriovenous malformation and cavernous angioma are usually seen later in children, with hemorrhage often being the first presenting symptom.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Central Nervous System Vascular Malformations / diagnosis*
  • Cerebral Veins / abnormalities
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / diagnosis*
  • Vein of Galen Malformations / diagnosis*