, Volume 54, Issue 7, pp 673–680 | Cite as

The value of magnetic resonance imaging for the detection of the bleeding source in non-traumatic intracerebral haemorrhages: a comparison with conventional digital subtraction angiography

  • Nina LummelEmail author
  • Jürgen Lutz
  • Hartmut Brückmann
  • Jennifer Linn
Diagnostic Neuroradiology



Conventional digital subtraction angiography (DSA) is currently regarded as the gold standard in detecting underlying vascular pathologies in patients with intracerebral haemorrhages (ICH). However, the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the diagnostic workup of ICHs has considerably increased in recent years. Our aim was to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy and yield of MRI for the detection of the underlying aetiology in ICH patients.


Sixty-seven consecutive patients with an acute ICH who underwent MRI (including magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and DSA during their diagnostic workup) were included in the study. Magnetic resonance images were retrospectively analysed by two independent neuroradiologists to determine the localisation and cause of the ICH. DSA was used as a reference standard.


In seven patients (10.4%), a DSA-positive vascular aetiology was present (one aneurysm, four arteriovenous malformations, one dural arteriovenous fistula and one vasculitis). All of these cases were correctly diagnosed by both readers on MRI. In addition, MRI revealed the following probable bleeding causes in 39 of the 60 DSA-negative patients: cerebral amyloid angiopathy (17), cavernoma (9), arterial hypertension (8), haemorrhagic transformation of an ischaemic infarction (3) and malignant brain tumour with secondary ICH (2).


Performing MRI with MRA proved to be an accurate diagnostic tool in detecting vascular malformations in patients with ICH. In addition, MRI provided valuable information regarding DSA-negative ICH causes, and thus had a high diagnostic yield in ICH patients.


Intracerebral haemorrhage ICH MR angiography MRI DSA 



Arteriovenous malformations


Dural arterio-venous fistula


Digital subtraction angiography


Diffusion weighted imaging


Cerebral amyloid angiopathy


Confidence interval


Computed tomography


Computed tomography angiography


Fluid-attenuated inversion recovery


Intracerebral haemorrhages


Intraventricular haemorrhage


Magnetic resonance angiography


Magnetic resonance imaging


Subarachnoid haemorrhages


Susceptibility weighted imaging






Conflict of interest

We declare that we have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

234_2011_953_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (589 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 589 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nina Lummel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jürgen Lutz
    • 1
  • Hartmut Brückmann
    • 1
  • Jennifer Linn
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeuroradiologyUniversity of MunichMunichGermany

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