Pure arterial malformations

J Neurosurg. 2018 Jul;129(1):91-99. doi: 10.3171/2017.2.JNS1744. Epub 2017 Sep 29.


OBJECTIVE Over the last half century, there have been isolated case reports of purely arterial malformations. In this study, the authors report a consecutive series of patients with pure arterial malformations, emphasizing the clinical and radiological features of these lesions. METHODS Pure arterial malformations were defined as dilated, overlapping, and tortuous arteries with a coil-like appearance and/or a mass of arterial loops without any associated venous component. Demographic characteristics of the patients, cardiovascular risk factors, presentation, radiological characteristics, and follow-up data were collected. Primary outcomes were new neurological symptoms including disability, stroke, and hemorrhage. RESULTS Twelve patients meeting the criteria were identified. Ten patients were female (83.3%) and 2 were male (16.6%). Their mean age at diagnosis was 26.2 ± 11.6 years. The most common imaging indication was headache (7 patients [58.3%]). In 3 cases the pure arterial malformation involved the anterior cerebral arteries (25.0%); in 4 cases the posterior communicating artery/posterior cerebral artery (33.3%); in 2 cases the middle cerebral artery (16.6%); and in 1 case each, the superior cerebellar artery, basilar artery/anterior inferior cerebellar artery, and posterior inferior cerebellar artery. The mean maximum diameter of the malformations was 7.2 ± 5.0 mm (range 3-16 mm). Four lesions had focal aneurysms associated with the pure arterial malformation, and 5 were partially calcified. In no cases was there associated intracranial hemorrhage or infarction. One patient underwent treatment for the pure arterial malformation. All 12 patients had follow-up (mean 29 months, median 19 months), and there were no cases of disability, stroke, or hemorrhage. CONCLUSIONS Pure arterial malformations are rare lesions that are often detected incidentally and probably have a benign natural history. These lesions can affect any of the intracranial arteries and are likely best managed conservatively.

Keywords: ACA = anterior cerebral artery; AICA = anterior inferior cerebellar artery; BA = basilar artery; ICA = internal carotid artery; MCA = middle cerebral artery; PCA = posterior cerebral artery; PCoA = posterior communicating artery; PICA = posterior inferior cerebellar artery; SCA = superior cerebellar artery; aneurysm; vascular disorders; vascular malformation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cerebral Arteries / abnormalities*
  • Cerebral Arteries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Young Adult