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eISSN: 1643-3750

Intracranial arterial variations: A comprehensive evaluation using CT angiography

Jelena Djokić Kovač, Ana Stanković, Danilo Stanković, Bojan Kovač, Djordjije Šaranović

Center for Radiology and Magnetic Resonance Imaging, University Clinical Center of Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia

Med Sci Monit 2014; 20:420-427

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.890265

Available online:

Published: 2014-03-14


Background: Intracranial arterial variations are a frequent finding in the general population. Knowledge of these vascular variations has significant clinical impact because some of them predispose patients to development of an aneurysm or cerebrovascular ischemic disease. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the frequency of intracranial vascular variations and associated vascular lesions on computed tomography angiography (CTA) examinations.
Material and Methods: CTA examinations performed by 16-detector computed tomography were prospectively reviewed in 455 patients for the presence of fenestrations, duplications, hypoplasia, aplasia, aneurysms, and other vascular lesions.
Results: Arterial fenestrations were found in 2.4% of patients, with the vertebrobasilar system as the most common location. The remaining fenestrations were located on the middle cerebral artery M1 segment (0.2%), anterior communicating artery (0.4%), and anterior cerebral artery A1 segment (0.6%). No associated aneurysms were noted in these patients. The prevalence of an azygos anterior cerebral artery was 1.5%. Bihemispheric anterior cerebral artery was found in 0.9%, hypoplastic A1 segment in 17.6%, and congenital absence of A1 segment in 0.4% of patients. Fetal origin of the posterior cerebral artery was found in 37% of cases. Hypoplastic vertebral artery terminating as posterior inferior cerebellar artery was observed in 9 patients, while transversal anastomosis between vertebral arteries was seen in only 1 patient.
Conclusions: CTA precisely demonstrates the diversity of intracranial arterial variations, whose overall frequency in this study is similar to previous radiological reports. Furthermore, our results do not show significant association between the frequency of aneurysms and cerebral arterial anomalies.

Keywords: Cerebral Angiography, Arteriovenous Anastomosis - radiography, Cerebral Arteries - radiography, Intracranial Aneurysm - radiography, Tomography, X-Ray Computed



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