Cerebral developmental venous anomalies

Diego San Millán Ruíz, Philippe Gailloud

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cerebral developmental venous anomalies (DVAs) are the most frequently encountered cerebral vascular malformation. As such, they are often observed incidentally during routine CT and MRI studies. Yet, what DVAs represent from a clinical perspective is frequently not common knowledge and DVAs, therefore, still generate uncertainty and concern amongst physicians. This article reviews our current understanding of developmental venous anomalies. Results: In the majority of cases, DVAs follow a benign clinical course. On rare occasions, DVAs become symptomatic generally due to an underlying associated vascular malformation such as cavernous malformations or thrombosis of the collecting vein. Rare forms of DVAs include arterialized DVAs and DVAs involved in the drainage of sinus pericranii, which warrant additional investigation by digital subtraction angiography. Cerebral abnormalities such as atrophy, white matter lesions and calcifications within the drainage territory of asymptomatic DVAs, are often identified on CT or MR imaging studies and likely represent secondary changes due to venous hypertension. There is increasing evidence that DVAs have a propensity for developing venous hypertension, which is thought to be the cause of associated cavernous malformations and parenchymal abnormalities. Conclusions: DVAs represent variations of the normal cerebral venous angioarchitecture and by enlargement follow an uneventful clinical course. Complications can, however, occur and their management requires a thorough understanding of the nature of DVAs, including their frequent coexistence with other types of vascular malformation, and the existence of more complex but rare forms of presentation, such as the arterialized DVAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1395-1406
Number of pages12
JournalChild's Nervous System
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Arterialized developmental venous anomaly
  • Clinical implications
  • Developmental venous anomaly
  • Imaging
  • Morphology
  • Regional parenchymal brain abnormalities
  • Venous hypertension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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