Purpose: To quantitatively analyze magnitude contrast (MC) magnetic resonance (MR) angiography and gradient-echo (GRE) MR imaging for evaluation of persistent transnidal blood flow in intracranial arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) of various sizes before or after stereotaxic radiosurgery.
Materials and methods: Thirty-three patients with AVMs underwent 42 MC MR angiographic (maximum intensity projection [MIP] and source imaging), GRE imaging with and without flow compensation, and conventional angiographic studies within 90 days of each other.
Results: For MIP, source, and GRE images, the sensitivities for detection of large AVMs (> 1 cm) were 95%, 100%, and 100%, respectively, and for small AVMs (< or = 1 cm) were 27%, 50%, and 67%, respectively. MC MR angiography and GRE imaging depicted all eight nidi that were completely thrombosed on conventional angiograms.
Conclusion: GRE imaging and MC MR angiography reliably depict AVMs larger than 1 cm. GRE is more sensitive for detection of small residual nidi (< 1 cm). Source images must be evaluated to accurately assess low-flow lesions. Neither GRE nor MR angiography is reliable for detection of mean nidus diameters less than 0.36 cm.