Hemorrhage From Cavernous Malformations of the Brain: Definition and Reporting Standards

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Abstract

Background and Purpose—

Cavernous malformations of the brain (CMs) cause intracranial hemorrhage, but its reported frequency varies, partly attributable to study design. To improve the validity of future research, we aimed to develop a robust definition of CM hemorrhage.

Methods—

We systematically reviewed the published literature (Ovid Medline and Embase to June 1, 2007) for definitions of CM hemorrhage used in studies of the untreated clinical course of ≥20 participants with CM(s), to inform the development of a consensus statement on the clinical and imaging features of CM hemorrhage at a scientific workshop of the Angioma Alliance.

Results—

A systematic review of 1426 publications about CMs in humans, revealed 15 studies meeting our inclusion criteria. Although 14 (93%) studies provided a definition of CM hemorrhage, data were less complete on the confirmatory type(s) of imaging (87%), whether CM hemorrhage should be clinically symptomatic (73%), and whether hemorrhage had to extend outside the CM or not (47%). We define a CM hemorrhage as requiring acute or subacute onset symptoms (any of: headache, epileptic seizure, impaired consciousness, or new/worsened focal neurological deficit referable to the anatomic location of the CM) accompanied by radiological, pathological, surgical, or rarely only cerebrospinal fluid evidence of recent extra- or intralesional hemorrhage. The definition includes neither an increase in CM diameter without other evidence of recent hemorrhage, nor the existence of a hemosiderin halo.

Conclusions—

A consistent approach to clinical and brain imaging classification of CM hemorrhage will improve the external validity of future CM research.

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