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Research on the prevalence of smokers in patients with brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) remains nonexistent, even though smoking is a well-known risk factor for intracranial aneurysms.

To examine the prevalence and smoking habits of AVM patients.

Data on smoking habits were collected with a quality-of-life questionnaire mailed in 2016 to all patients in our large AVM database. These smoking data were supplemented with registry data derived from medical records. The prevalence of smokers was compared to that of the general population, derived from statistics of National Institute for Health and Welfare. Logit transformation of proportions and Students t distribution were used to calculate the 95% CIs for prevalence estimates.

Of the 384 patients aged over 18 yr on admission, 277 (72.1%) returned the questionnaires in 2016. When compared to age, sex, and admission year matched general population, the proportion of smokers in AVM patients was 48% (CI = 41%-55%) and 19% (CI = 16%-21%) in the general population. The difference increased in older age groups; in those aged 65 to 77 yr, the percentage of smokers reached 73% (CI = 46%-90%), while the corresponding percentage in the general population was 7% (CI = 5%-9%).

We observed considerably higher rates of smoking among AVM patients when compared to age, sex, and admission year matched general population. Our results suggest that in the development of AVMs, the role played by nicotine and other substances in tobacco smoke should be examined. Cigarette smoking could potentially be a common cerebrovascular risk factor.