Cerebral arteriovenous malformation draining vein stenosis is associated with atherosclerotic risk factors

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The pathogenesis of venous outflow stenosis associated with cerebral arteriovenous malformation (AVM) draining veins is poorly understood. We sought to determine the relationship between venous stenosis and atherosclerotic risk factors.

Materials and methods

All patients with an AVM seen at our institution between 1990 and 2016 were retrospectively reviewed. Patients <18 years of age were excluded. Patients were classified into two groups based on the presence or absence of venous stenosis. Patient charts were reviewed for the following atherosclerotic risk factors: age >50 years, sex, race, hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, coronary artery disease, chronic kidney disease stage III, and cigarette smoking. The relationship between venous stenosis and atherosclerotic risk factors was assessed using univariate and multivariate analyses.


278 patients were included (mean age 41 years, 55% men). Venous stenosis was present in 87 patients (31% of the cohort). The presence of venous stenosis was significantly associated with age >50 years (P=0.05), hypertension (P=0.05), diabetes (P=0.02), and hyperlipidemia (P=0.001). Multivariate analysis showed that hyperlipidemia (P=0.05) was predictive of draining vein stenosis.


Venous stenosis is associated with several atherosclerotic risk factors, suggesting that cerebral AVM venous outflow stenosis occurs by a degenerative process. Additional studies can show whether these modifiable risk factors may be targeted to prevent draining vein stenosis and AVM rupture.

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