Clin Anat 2020 Mar 20. Epub 2020 Mar 20.
Division of Neuroimaging and Neurointervention, Stanford Initiative for Multimodality neuro-Imaging in Translational Anatomy Research (SIMITAR), Department of Radiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA.
Blood vessel tortuosity results from increased diameter and length in response to higher hemodynamic loads. Tortuosity metrics have not been determined for abnormal superior cerebral veins (SCVs) draining cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). Draining vein (DV) tortuosity may influence safety and efficacy of retrograde microcatheter navigation during transvenous treatment of pial AVMs. Here, we quantify SCV tortuosity in normal subjects and AVM patients using two image segmentation methods. We used contrast-enhanced brain magnetic resonance (MR) images to define the axis of each SCV through a regularly spaced set of three-dimensional (3D) points defining its skeleton curve. We then calculated two metrics: the "sum of angles metric" (SOAM), which adds all angles of curvature along a vessel and normalizes by vessel length, and the "distance metric" (DM), a tortuosity measure providing a ratio of vessel length to linear distance between vessel endpoints. We analyzed 168 metrics in 43 veins of eight normal subjects and 41 veins of seven AVM patients. In normal subjects, the mean SOAM and DM for SCVs were 21.34 ± 7.49 °/mm and 1.42 ± 0.25, respectively. In AVM patients, DVs had a significantly higher mean SOAM of 30.43 ± 11.38 °/mm (p = .02) and DM of 2.79 ± 1.77 (p = .01) than normal subjects. In AVM patients, DVs were significantly more tortuous than matched contralateral uninvolved SCVs, which were similar in tortuosity to normal subject SCVs. We thus report normative tortuosity metrics of brain SCVs and show that AVM cortical DVs are significantly more tortuous than normal SCVs. Knowledge of these comparative tortuosities is valuable in planning endovenous AVM embolotherapies.