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Neurosurgery. 2000 Apr;46(4):820-4.

Orbital drainage from cerebral arteriovenous malformations.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Scheie Eye Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.



To describe the neuro-ophthalmic findings in patients with orbital drainage from cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).


We reviewed the records of 100 consecutive adult patients with cerebral AVMs who presented to our institution during a 4-year period. All patients with orbital drainage were identified, and their neuro-ophthalmic evaluations were reviewed.


Three patients (3%) were identified with orbital drainage from a cerebral AVM. The first patient presented with typical chiasmal syndrome (reduced visual acuity, bitemporal hemianopia, and optic atrophy). Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated a large left temporal and parietal lobe AVM with compression of the chiasm between a large pituitary gland and a markedly enlarged carotid artery. The second patient presented with headaches and postural monocular transient visual obscurations. Examination revealed normal visual function with minimal orbital congestion and asymmetrical disc edema, which was worse in the left eye. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a large right parietal and occipital lobe AVM without mass effect or hemorrhage and an enlarged left superior ophthalmic vein. The third patient had no visual symptoms and a normal neuro-ophthalmic examination; a right parietal lobe AVM was discovered during an examination for the cause of headaches.


Orbital drainage from cerebral AVMs is rare. Manifestations may include anterior visual pathway compression, dilated conjunctival veins, orbital congestion, and asymmetrical disc swelling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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