Functional magnetic resonance imaging of regional brain activity in patients with intracerebral arteriovenous malformations before surgical or endovascular therapy

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  • 1 Departments of Radiology, Neurology, and Neurosurgery, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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✓ Functional magnetic resonance (MR) imaging was performed in six patients harboring proven intracerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) using a noninvasive blood oxygen level—dependent technique based on the documented discrepancy between regional increases in blood flow and oxygen utilization in response to regional brain activation. Statistical functional MR maps were generated and overlaid directly onto conventional MR images obtained at the same session. In the six patients studied, a total of 23 separate functional MR imaging activation studies were performed. Of these, two runs were discarded because of motion artifacts. All of the remaining 21 studies demonstrated activation in or near expected regions for the paradigm employed. Qualitatively reproducible regional localizations of functional activity in unexpected sites were also seen. The authors' findings indicating aberrant mapping of cortical function may be explained on the basis of the plasticity of brain function, in that the developing brain can take over function that would normally have been performed by regions of brain encompassed by the lesion. Preliminary results in this study's small number of cases also indicate that activity demonstrated within the confines of the apparent AVM nidus may help predict the development of a posttherapy deficit. The authors demonstrate that functional MR imaging can be successfully and reproducibly performed in patients with intracerebral AVMs. Notwithstanding the paucity of normative data using functional MR imaging, the authors' findings support cortical reorganization associated with these congenital lesions. Blood oxygen level—dependent MR imaging is a noninvasive method used to localize areas of eloquent cortex in patients harboring AVMs; it may prove to be of value in treatment planning.

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