Unruptured intracranial aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations: frequency of intracranial hemorrhage and relationship of lesions

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✓ Among 91 patients with unruptured intracranial arteriovenous malformations (AVM's), 16 patients had 26 unruptured intracranial saccular aneurysms. An actuarial analysis showed the risk of intracranial hemorrhage among patients with coexisting aneurysm and AVM to be 7% per year at 5 years following diagnosis compared to 1.7% for patients with AVM alone. The difference in length of survival free of hemorrhage was significant (log-rank, p < 0.0007). Several angiographic and clinical parameters were investigated to better understand the relationship of these lesions. The aneurysms occurred in similar percentages in patients with small, medium, and large AVM's. Twenty-five aneurysms were on arteries feeding the malformation system, almost equally distributed proximally and distally. Eleven aneurysms were atypical in location, and all arose from primary or secondary branch feeders to the malformation; 24 were on enlarged feeding arteries. Eleven (16%) of the 67 patients with high-flow AVM's had associated aneurysms, compared with five (21%) of the 24 patients with low-flow AVM's. Four (16%) of 25 low-shunt malformations and 12 (18%) of 65 high-shunt malformations had associated aneurysms. All five aneurysms associated with low-shunt malformations were on a direct arterial feeder of the malformation. These data suggest that the intracranial AVM's predispose to aneurysm formation within AVM feeding systems and that the mechanism is not simply based upon the high blood flow or high arteriovenous shunt in these systems.

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Address reprint requests to: David O. Wiebers, M.D., Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, Minnesota 55905.

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