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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 1998 Mar;19(3):477-84.

MR of hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia: prevalence and spectrum of cerebrovascular malformations.

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Department of Neuroradiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn 06520, USA.



Our goal was to describe the prevalence and types of cerebral vascular malformations (CVMs) seen with MR imaging in patients with hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT).


We reviewed retrospectively the brain MR images of 184 consecutive patients with HHT. Catheter angiography was performed in 17 patients with CVMs detected on MR images.


MR imaging revealed 63 CVMs in 42 patients. Classic arteriovenous malformations (n = 10) had a conspicuous network of vessels with flow voids and enlarged adjacent pial vessels. Apparent venous malformations (n = 5) were best seen after administration of contrast material as a prominent vessel coursing through normal brain parenchyma. Indeterminate vascular malformations (n = 48) had a spectrum of appearances characterized by variable combinations of heterogeneous signal intensity, enhancement, or hemosiderin. Angiography in 17 patients revealed 47 CVMs. Forty-six were arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), including 25 CVMs not seen with MR imaging and 21 CVMs that by MR criteria included 8 AVMs and 13 indeterminate vascular malformations. Angiography confirmed 1 venous malformation seen with MR imaging but failed to detect 3 indeterminate lesions revealed by MR imaging.


MR imaging of a large cohort of consecutive patients with HHT revealed a CVM prevalence of 23% (42/184). Most CVMs (48/63) have an atypical appearance for vascular malformations on MR images. Angiographic correlation suggests that MR imaging underestimates the prevalence of CVMs and that the majority of indeterminate CVMs, despite their variable MR appearance, are AVMs.

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