Anatomical variants of the basal vein of Rosenthal: Prevalence in idiopathic subarachnoid hemorrhage

G. Sabatino, Giuseppe Maria Della Pepa, A. Scerrati, G. Maira, M. Rollo, A. Albanese, E. Marchese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Spontaneous, non traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a significant clinical problem that occurs most commonly as a result of aneurysm rupture. In approximately 15 % of cases, nor aneurysm or other vascular malformation can be identified by cerebral angiography as origin of the hemorrhage, and these are commonly defined as idiopathic SAH (ISAH). Because of the negative angiography, limited extension of the bleeding with prevalent prepontine pattern and the benign prognosis, the venous causes has been preferred rather than the arterial ones. In the literature recent studies have suggested a possible contribution by primitive variants of Basal vein of Rosenthal (BVR) in its the pathogenesis of ISAH, commonly grouped according Watanabe classification (type A, B and C). In this paper we evaluated the prevalence of anatomical variants of BVR in ISAH. Methods: Venous drainage at angiography was retrospectively analyzed in 40 patients with ISAH and in 40 with unruptured aneurysms as controls. Results and conclusions: Previous studies displayed a significant prevalence of BVR type C variants in ISAH. Conversely in our study we recognized variant B as prevalent, in which the BVR bifurcates to drain anteriorly into the uncal vein and posteriorly into the Galenic system. Similarly to variant C (in which the BVR drains via perimesencephalic "bridging" veins into cavernous, sphenoparietal, petrosal sinus or directly into transverse sinus) also variant B might be subjected to those stress mechanisms and intrinsic system 'fragility' and for reasons yet to determine, sets off a consequent hemorrhage with clinical and radiological features typical of ISAH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-51
Number of pages7
JournalActa Neurochirurgica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Basal vein of Rosenthal
  • Idiopathic SAH
  • Prepontine SAH
  • SAH

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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