Disputation: Evaluation of Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations with Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Maria Correia de Verdier försvarar sin avhandling Evaluation of Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations with Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

Abstract [en]

Intracranial arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are characterized by feeding arteries, a tangle of abnormal vessels (nidus) and draining veins. Radiological evaluation methods are used in diagnosing AVMs, treatment planning, post-treatment evaluation and monitoring stability. The general aim of our studies reviewed in this thesis was to develop and evaluate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques for the evaluation of AVMs. 

Methods

Paper I – In 30 patients treated with proton radiation therapy, radiation-induced MRI changes (vasogenic edema, contrast enhancement and cavitation) and their association with development of neurological symptoms and nidus obliteration were assessed. 

Paper II – We evaluated the effect of acquisition parameters (voxel size, number of signal averages and velocity encoding) on the accuracy and precision of phase-contrast MRI (PC-MRI)-measured flow and velocity in a small-lumen vessel phantom with constant flow. 

Paper III – Normal ranges and test-retest reproducibility of flow and velocity in the anterior, middle and posterior cerebral arteries were measured with PC-MRI in 30 healthy volunteers.

Paper IV – We studied PC-MRI-measured flow and velocity in feeding arteries in 10 patients with AVMs and compared the values obtained with the results from paper III. We also assessed post-treatment changes in flow and velocity in three patients.  

Results 

Paper I – Radiation-induced MRI changes were found in 87% of patients after proton radiation treatment of AVMs. MRI changes were associated with neurological symptoms but not with nidus obliteration. 

Paper II – PC-MRI overestimated flow in a small-lumen vessel phantom. Accuracy for flow measurements improved by decreasing voxel size. Precision for both flow and velocity measurements improved by increasing voxel size. Precision for flow measurements improved by increasing the number of signal averages.

Paper III – We reported normal ranges and test-retest reproducibility for PC-MRI-measured flow and velocity in the main intracranial arteries. Reproducibility was overall quite low, but higher for the middle cerebral arteries than for the anterior and posterior cerebral arteries.

Paper IV – Patients with a large nidus have increased velocity measured with PC-MRI in feeding arteries compared to intracranial arteries in healthy individuals. There is a reduction in PC-MRI-measured flow and velocity after treatment.  

Conclusion

Radiation-induced MRI changes are common after proton radiation treatment of AVMs. The accuracy and precision of PC-MRI measurements in a phantom depend on acquisition parameter settings. In patients with AVMs with a large nidus, increased velocity is observed in feeding arteries, and a decrease in flow and velocity is observed after treatment. PC-MRI can potentially be used as a clinical tool to aid treatment planning and post-treatment evaluation.  

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