Antithrombotic Therapy and Bleeding Risk in a Prospective Cohort Study of Patients With Cerebral Cavernous Malformations

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Background and Purpose—

Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are one of the most frequently diagnosed vascular malformations of the brain and constitute a potential source of intracranial hemorrhage. In CCM patients suffering ischemic stroke or heart disease, the use of anticoagulants or antiplatelet therapy is generally avoided by fear of hemorrhagic complications, but no systematic studies exist to support this hypothesis.


We prospectively followed-up consecutive patients with a diagnosis of one or more CCMs in a prospective database since 2008. Retrospective data collection was used for patients with a diagnostic event or imaging studies done before first assessment. Symptomatic hemorrhage and other focal neurological events during prospective follow-up were defined according to the current guidelines of the Angioma Alliance Scientific Advisory board.


A total of 87 patients were prospectively enrolled in our cohort [50 women (57%), mean age 44.8 years (SD ± 17.6), mean follow-up 3.9 years], harboring a total of 738 CCMs. Fifty-five patients (63%) had a single CCM, and 32 patients (37%) had multiple CCMs. Longitudinal follow-up included 16 (18%) patients receiving long-term antithrombotic therapy by antiplatelet treatment (n=11) or oral anticoagulants (n=5). During 5536 lesion-years of observation, none of the patients under antithrombotic therapy experienced CCM hemorrhage on follow-up.


Our observational data suggest that long-term antithrombotic treatment by antiplatelet drugs or warfarin does not increase the frequency of CCM-related hemorrhage. Patients harboring single or multiple CCMs suffering ischemic stroke or heart disease should not be withheld antithrombotic therapy.

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