Introduction: Cerebral developmental venous anomaly (DVA) is considered a benign anatomical variant of parenchymal venous drainage; it is the most common vascular malformation seen in the adult brain. Despite its assumed congenital origin, little is known about DVA in the neonatal brain. We report here the first cohort study of 14 neonates with DVA.
Methods: Fourteen infants (seven preterm) with DVA diagnosed neonatally using cranial ultrasound (cUS) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) from three tertiary neonatal units over 14 years are reviewed.
Results: DVA was first detected on cUS in 6 and on MRI in 8 of the 14 infants. The cUS appearances of DVA showed a focal fairly uniform area of increased echogenicity, often (86 %) adjacent to the lateral ventricle and located in the frontal lobe (58 %). Blood flow in the dilated collector vein detected by Doppler ultrasound (US) varied between cases (venous flow pattern in ten and arterialized in four). The appearance on conventional MRI was similar to findings in adults. Serial imaging showed a fairly constant appearance to the DVAs in some cases while others varied considerably regarding anatomical extent and flow velocity.
Conclusions: This case series underlines that a neonatal diagnosis of DVA is possible with carefully performed cUS and MRI and that DVA tends to be an incidental finding with a diverse spectrum of imaging appearances. Serial imaging suggests that some DVAs undergo dynamic changes during the neonatal period and early infancy; this may contribute to why diagnosis is rare at this age.