Quantification of hemodynamics of cerebral arteriovenous malformations after stereotactic radiosurgery using 4D flow magnetic resonance imaging.
Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is used to treat cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). However, early evaluation of efficacy is difficult as structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)/magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) often does not demonstrate appreciable changes within the first 6 months. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of four-dimensional (4D) flow MRI to quantify hemodynamic changes after SRS as early as 2 months. This was a retrospective observational study, which included 14 patients with both pre-SRS and post-SRS imaging obtained at multiple time points from 1 to 27 months after SRS. A 3T MRI Scanner was used to obtain T2 single-shot fast spin echo, time-of-flight MRA, and postcontrast 4D flow with three-dimensional velocity encoding between 150 and 200 cm/s. Post-hoc two-dimensional cross-sectional flow was measured for the dominant feeding artery, the draining vein, and the corresponding contralateral artery as a control. Measurements were performed by two independent observers, and reproducibility was assessed. Wilcoxon signed-rank tests were used to compare differences in flow, circumference, and pulsatility between the feeding artery and the contralateral artery both before and after SRS; and differences in nidus size and flow and circumference of the feeding artery and draining vein before and after SRS. Arterial flow (L/min) decreased in the primary feeding artery (mean: 0.1 ± 0.07 vs. 0.3 ± 0.2; p < 0.05) and normalized in comparison to the contralateral artery (mean: 0.1 ± 0.07 vs. 0.1 ± 0.07; p = 0.068). Flow decreased in the draining vein (mean: 0.1 ± 0.2 vs. 0.2 ± 0.2; p < 0.05), and the circumference of the draining vein also decreased (mean: 16.1 ± 8.3 vs. 15.7 ± 6.7; p < 0.05). AVM volume decreased after SRS (mean: 45.3 ± 84.8 vs. 38.1 ± 78.7; p < 0.05). However, circumference (mm) of the primary feeding artery remained similar after SRS (mean: 15.7 ± 2.7 vs. 16.1 ± 3.1; p = 0.600). 4D flow may be able to demonstrate early hemodynamic changes in AVMs treated with radiosurgery, and these changes appear to be more pronounced and occur earlier than the structural changes on standard MRI/MRA. Level of Evidence: 4 Technical Efficacy Stage: 1.