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FLAIR Signal and Venous Abnormalities Linked in MS

AJNR Am J Neuroradiol; ePub 2018 Oct 18; Rogers, et al

The association of developmental venous anomalies and FLAIR hyperintensities was more common in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a recent study. This suggests that the underlying demyelinating pathologic process of MS may be the cause of this propensity in patients with MS. A retrospective, blinded, multi-reader study compared the prevalence of FLAIR hyperintense signal abnormalities adjacent to developmental venous anomalies in patients with MS compared with controls (patients with developmental venous anomalies without MS). Clinical parameters included age, sex, and the presence of confounding variables (hypertension, diabetes, migraines, and/or vasculopathy). Researchers found:

  • FLAIR signal abnormality was present around 47.3% (35/74) of developmental venous anomalies in patients with MS, and 13.5% (10/74) of developmental venous anomalies in the control group.
  • The multivariate logistic regression model controlling for covariates (including migraines, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, vasculopathy, age, sex, and drainage direction of developmental venous anomalies) showed that the odds of FLAIR hyperintensity around developmental venous anomalies was 6.7-fold higher in patients with MS.


Rogers DM, Shah LM, Wiggins RH. The central vein: FLAIR signal abnormalities associated with developmental venous anomalies in patients with multiple sclerosis. [Published online ahead of print October 18, 2018]. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. doi:10.3174/ajnr.A5819.

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