Uterine arteriovenous malformations: gray-scale and Doppler US features with MR imaging correlation

Radiology. 1998 Jan;206(1):115-23. doi: 10.1148/radiology.206.1.9423660.


Purpose: To describe the gray-scale and color and duplex Doppler ultrasound (US) and the magnetic resonance (MR) imaging features of uterine arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).

Materials and methods: Uterine AVMs in 10 patients were retrospectively evaluated. All patients underwent gray-scale US and color and duplex Doppler US. Nine underwent angiography with therapeutic embolization; four, MR imaging. The resistance index (RI), pulsatility index (PI), and peak systolic velocities (PSVs) were evaluated.

Results: At gray-scale US, uterine AVMs were nonspecific and manifested as subtle myometrial inhomogeneity, tubular spaces within the myometrium, intramural uterine mass, endometrial mass, or cervical mass or sometimes as prominent parametrial vessels. Color Doppler features were consistent and included intense juxtaposed signals with aliasing and apparent flow reversals. Spectral Doppler US revealed low-resistance flow (RI, 0.25-0.55; PI, 0.3-0.6) and PSVs greater than 96 cm/sec, which suggests arteriovenous shunting. MR imaging showed a bulky uterus, a focal uterine mass, disruption of the junctional zones, serpiginous flow-related signal voids, and prominent parametrial vessels.

Conclusion: Gray-scale morphology and Doppler US features should allow noninvasive diagnosis of uterine AVMs. Doppler and MR imaging features of uterine AVMs may overlap with other causes of arteriovenous shunting, including abnormal placentation and gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD). These can be differentiated with serum beta human chorionic gonadotropin test results (negative with AVM, positive with GTD).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arteriovenous Malformations / diagnostic imaging*
  • Arteriovenous Malformations / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler*
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Color
  • Uterus / blood supply*
  • Uterus / diagnostic imaging
  • Uterus / pathology