Intracranial 4D flow MRI: Toward individualized assessment of arteriovenous malformation hemodynamics and treatment-induced changes

S. A. Ansari, S. Schnell, T. Carroll, P. Vakil, M. C. Hurley, C. Wu, J. Carr, B. R. Bendok, H. Batjer, M. Markl*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Arteriovenous malformations are an important etiology of hemorrhagic stroke. However, current imaging modalities and risk do not provide insights into individual AVM hemodynamics and its role in pathophysiology. The aims of this study are to determine whether intracranial 4D flow MR imaging can provide insights into arteriovenous malformation hemodynamics independent of the Spetzler-Martin grade and to report the changes in flow observed during staged embolization. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Intracranial 3D blood flow was assessed in 20 patients with AVM (age=39±15 years, Spetzler-Martin grade ranging from 1- 4) with the use of 4D flowMRimaging (temporal resolution=45 ms, spatial resolution=[1.2-1.6mm]3).AVMhemodynamics were visualized by means of time-integrated 3D pathlines depicting theAVMarterial feeding and venous draining patterns over the cardiac cycle. Analysis included the grading of feeding and draining velocities on a 3-point scale (0 = low <25 cm/s, 1 = medium <50 cm/s, 2 = high>50 cm/s). For 4 of 20 patients undergoing 4D flow MR imaging follow-up after staged embolization, peak velocities were quantified in arterial feeders, draining veins, the sagittal sinus, and contralateral arteries. RESULTS: In 50% of the cases with Spetzler-Martin grade >2, heterogeneous flow (velocity grade differences >1) was found across arteries and veins. Velocities in draining veins increased from Spetzler-Martin grade = 1 (grading = 0.5 ± 0.6) to Spetzler-Martin grade ≥3 (1.1 ± 0.6), whereas arterial velocities were similar (1.7 ± 0.6 versus 1.5 ± 0.6). In the postembolization subgroup of 4 patients, 4D flow MR imaging demonstrated successively more compact AVM and redistribution of velocities. Changes in arterial and venous velocities during treatment were highly different among individuals. CONCLUSIONS: Spetzler-Martin grade does not reflect differences in 3D AVM arterial and venous hemodynamics, and an individual assessment of AVM hemodynamics may be needed for improved lesion characterization. Four-dimensional flow MR imaging may have the potential to monitor and guide embolization treatment planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1922-1928
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Intracranial 4D flow MRI: Toward individualized assessment of arteriovenous malformation hemodynamics and treatment-induced changes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this