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01.12.2018 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases 1/2018

Decreased outlet angle of the superior cerebellar artery as indicator for dolichoectasia in late onset Pompe disease

Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases > Ausgabe 1/2018
Ole Hensel, Ilka Schneider, Mathias Wieprecht, Torsten Kraya, Stephan Zierz
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s13023-018-0794-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Lysosomal α-glucosidase deficiency (Pompe disease) not only leads to glycogen accumulation in skeletal muscle, but also in the cerebral arteries. Dolichoectasia of the basilar artery (BA) has been frequently reported. Therefore progression of BA dolichoectasia in late onset Pompe patients (LOPD) was studied.


BA length, diameter and volume, and cerebral lesions were analysed by MRI/TOF-MR angiography or CT/CT angiography in 20 LOPD patients and 40 controls matching in age, sex- and cardiovascular risk factors. The height of BA bifurcation was assessed semi-quantitatively using the Smoker’s criteria and quantitatively by measuring the outlet angle of the superior cerebellar artery (SUCA). Nine patients were followed over 5 years.


The height of the BA bifurcation was abnormal in 12/20 (60%) LOPD patients and in 12/40 (30%) matched controls. The SUCA outlet angle was reduced in LOPD patients compared to controls (127 ± 33° vs. 156 ± 32°, p = 0.0024). The diameter, length and volume of the BA were significantly increased in LOPD patients compared to controls. 12/20 (60%) LOPD patients and 27/40 (68%) controls presented white matter lesions. During 5 years 2/9 LOPD patients developed an abnormal height of BA bifurcation according to the Smoker’s criteria and in all patients the SUCA outlet angle decreased (138 ± 34° vs. 128 ± 32°, p = 0.019). One patient with prominent basilar dolichoectasia experienced a thalamic hemorrhage.


Pompe disease is associated with BA dilation, elongation and elevated bifurcation height of the BA which might result in cerebrovascular complications. The SUCA outlet angle seems to be useful for monitoring the progression of BA dolichoectasia.
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