✓ Turbulence within cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVM's) may lead to endothelial disruption, platelet aggregation, and thrombus formation. This hypothesis would account for many of the pathological features in AVM's, including intimal hyperplasia and arterial thrombosis with or without organization. In this study, a dual-isotope method employing indium-111-labeled platelets and technetium-99m-labeled red blood cells was used to evaluate in vivo platelet aggregation in 20 patients with AVM's. The use of two isotopes allows subtraction of the blood-pool platelets and calculation of the ratio of the indium deposited:the indium in the blood pool (In(D)/In(BP)).
After a 24-hour incubation period, eight of the 20 patients demonstrated platelet aggregation in their AVM's with a mean In(D)/In(BP) ratio of 0.71 ± 0.36 (± standard deviation). Seven of these AVM's were available for pathological study and all of them demonstrated evidence of arterial thrombosis of variable age. In the remaining 12 patients, the In(D)/In(BP) ratio was not significantly elevated (mean 0.02 ± 0.13), indicating the absence of active platelet aggregation during this short interval of study. Five of these AVM's were pathologically examined, four of which showed evidence of arterial occlusion. It is concluded that platelet aggregation is a common occurrence in cerebral AVM's and may account for the dynamic histopathology often seen in these lesions.