Dural arteriovenous fistulas without cortical venous drainage

J Neurosurg 136:942–950, 2022

Current evidence suggests that intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) without cortical venous drainage (CVD) have a benign clinical course. However, no large study has evaluated the safety and efficacy of current treatments and their impact over the natural history of dAVFs without CVD.

METHODS The authors conducted an analysis of the retrospectively collected multicenter Consortium for Dural Arteriovenous Fistula Outcomes Research (CONDOR) database. Patient demographics and presenting symptoms, angiographic features of the dAVFs, and treatment outcomes of patients with Borden type I dAVFs were reviewed. Clinical and radiological follow-up information was assessed to determine rates of new intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) or nonhemorrhagic neurological deficit (NHND), worsening of venous hyperdynamic symptoms (VHSs), angiographic recurrence, and progression or spontaneous regression of dAVFs over time.

RESULTS A total of 342 patients/Borden type I dAVFs were identified. The mean patient age was 58.1 ± 15.6 years, and 62% were women. The mean follow-up time was 37.7 ± 54.3 months. Of 230 (67.3%) treated dAVFs, 178 (77%) underwent mainly endovascular embolization, 11 (4.7%) radiosurgery alone, and 4 (1.7%) open surgery as the primary modality. After the first embolization, most dAVFs (47.2%) achieved only partial reduction in early venous filling. Multiple complementary interventions increased complete obliteration rates from 37.9% after first embolization to 46.7% after two or more embolizations, and 55.2% after combined radiosurgery and open surgery. Immediate postprocedural complications occurred in 35 dAVFs (15.2%) and 6 (2.6%) with permanent sequelae. Of 127 completely obliterated dAVFs by any therapeutic modality, 2 (1.6%) showed angiographic recurrence/recanalization at a mean of 34.2 months after treatment. Progression to Borden-Shucart type II or III was documented in 2.2% of patients and subsequent development of a new dAVF in 1.6%. Partial spontaneous regression was found in 22 (21.4%) of 103 nontreated dAVFs. Multivariate Cox regression analysis demonstrated that older age, NHND, or severe venous-hyperdynamic symptoms at presentation and infratentorial location were associated with worse prognosis. Kaplan-Meier curves showed no significant difference for stable/improved symptoms survival probability in treated versus nontreated dAVFs. However, estimated survival times showed better trends for treated dAVFs compared with nontreated dAVFs (288.1 months vs 151.1 months, log-rank p = 0.28). This difference was statistically significant for treated dAVFs with 100% occlusion (394 months, log-rank p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS Current therapeutic modalities for management of dAVFs without CVD may provide better symptom control when complete angiographic occlusion is achieved.


Intervention for unruptured high-grade intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas: a multicenter study

J Neurosurg 136:962–970, 2022

The risk-to-benefit profile of treating an unruptured high-grade dural arteriovenous fistula (dAVF) is not clearly defined. The aim of this multicenter retrospective cohort study was to compare the outcomes of different interventions with observation for unruptured high-grade dAVFs.

METHODS The authors retrospectively reviewed dAVF patients from 12 institutions participating in the Consortium for Dural Arteriovenous Fistula Outcomes Research (CONDOR). Patients with unruptured high-grade (Borden type II or III) dAVFs were included and categorized into four groups (observation, embolization, surgery, and stereotactic radiosurgery [SRS]) based on the initial management. The primary outcome was defined as the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score at final follow-up. Secondary outcomes were good outcome (mRS scores 0–2) at final follow-up, symptomatic improvement, all-cause mortality, and dAVF obliteration. The outcomes of each intervention group were compared against those of the observation group as a reference, with adjustment for differences in baseline characteristics.

RESULTS The study included 415 dAVF patients, accounting for 29, 324, 43, and 19 in the observation, embolization, surgery, and SRS groups, respectively. The mean radiological and clinical follow-up durations were 21 and 25 months, respectively. Functional outcomes were similar for embolization, surgery, and SRS compared with observation. With observation as a reference, obliteration rates were higher after embolization (adjusted OR [aOR] 7.147, p = 0.010) and surgery (aOR 33.803, p < 0.001) and all-cause mortality was lower after embolization (imputed, aOR 0.171, p = 0.040). Hemorrhage rates per 1000 patient-years were 101 for observation versus 9, 22, and 0 for embolization (p = 0.022), surgery (p = 0.245), and SRS (p = 0.077), respectively. Nonhemorrhagic neurological deficit rates were similar between each intervention group versus observation.

CONCLUSIONS Embolization and surgery for unruptured high-grade dAVFs afforded a greater likelihood of obliteration than did observation. Embolization also reduced the risk of death and dAVF-associated hemorrhage compared with conservative management over a modest follow-up period. These findings support embolization as the first-line treatment of choice for appropriately selected unruptured Borden type II and III dAVFs.

Endovascular versus surgical treatment of cranial dural arteriovenous fistulas: a single‑center 8‑year experience

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:151–161

Cranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) are rare lesions managed mainly with endovascular treatment (EVT) and/or surgery. We hypothesize that there may be subtypes of dAVFs responding better to a specific treatment modality in terms of successful obliteration and cessation of symptoms and/or risks.

Methods All dAVFs treated during 2011–2018 at our hospital were analyzed retrospectively. Presenting symptoms, radiological variables, treatment modality, complications, and residual symptoms were related to dAVF type using the original Djindjian classification.

Results We treated 112 dAVFs in 107 patients (71, 66% males). They presented with hemorrhage (n = 23; 21%), nonhemorrhagic symptoms (n = 75; 70%), or were discovered incidentally (n = 9; 8%). There were 25 (22%) type I, 29 (26%) type II, 26 (23%) type III, and 32 (29%) type IV fistulas. EVT was the primary treatment modality in 72/112 (64%) dAVFs whereas 40/112 (36%) underwent primary surgery with angiographic obliteration rates of 60% and 90%, respectively. Using a secondary treatment modality in 23 dAVFs, we obtained a final obliteration rate of 93%, including all type III/IV and 26/27 (96%) type II dAVFs. Except for headache, residual symptoms were rare and minor. Permanent neurological complications consisted of five cranial nerve deficits.

Conclusions We recommend EVT as first treatment modality in types I, II, and in non-hemorrhagic type III/IV dAVFs. We recommend surgery as first treatment choice in acute hemorrhagic dAVFs and as secondary choice in type III/IV dAVFs not successfully occluded by EVT. Combining the two modalities provides obliteration in 9/10 dAVF cases at a low procedural risk.

Cerebral venous drainage in patients with dural arteriovenous fistulas: correlation with clinical presentation

J Neurosurg 135:440–448, 2021

Dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) are abnormal, acquired arteriovenous connections within the dural leaflets. Their associated symptoms may be mild or severe and are related to the patient’s venous anatomy. With the hypothesis that the patient’s venous anatomy determines the development of symptoms, the authors aimed to identify which venous anatomy elements are important in the development of major symptoms in patients with a DAVF.

METHODS A multicenter study was performed based on the retrospective analysis of cerebral angiographies with systematic assessment of brain drainage pathways (including fistula drainage) in patients over 18 years of age with a single DAVF. The patients were divided into two groups: those with minor (group 1, n = 112) and those with major (group 2, n = 89) symptoms. Group 2 was subdivided into two groups: patients with hemorrhage (group 2a, n = 47) and patients with severe nonhemorrhagic symptoms (group 2b, n = 42).

RESULTS The prevalence of stenosis in DAVF venous drainage and the identification of tiny anastomoses between venous territories were significantly higher in group 2 (32.6% and 19.1%, respectively) compared with group 1 (2.68% and 5.36%, respectively). Stenosis of DAVF venous drainage was significantly more frequent in group 2a than in group 2b (51.1% vs 11.9%, p < 0.001). Group 2b patients had increased prevalence of shared use of the cerebral main drainage pathway (85.0% vs 53.2%, p = 0.002), the absence of an alternative route (45.0% vs 17.0%, p = 0.004), and the presence of contrast stagnation (62.5% vs 29.8%, p = 0.002) compared with group 2a patients. In patients with high-grade fistulas, the group with major symptoms had increased prevalence of a single draining direction (31.3% vs 8.33%, p = 0.003), stenosis in the draining vein (35.0% vs 6.25%, p = 0.000), the absence of an alternative pathway for brain drainage (31.3% vs 12.5%, p = 0.017), and the presence of contrast stagnation (48.8% vs 22.9%, p = 0.004).

CONCLUSIONS Major symptoms were observed when normal brain tissue venous drainage was impaired by competition with DAVF (predominance in group 2b) or when DAVF venous drainage had anatomical characteristics that hindered drainage, with consequent venous hypertension on the venous side of the DAVF (predominance in group 2a). The same findings were observed when comparing two groups of patients with high-grade lesions: those with major versus those with minor symptoms.

Observation Versus Intervention for Low-Grade Intracranial Dural Arteriovenous Fistulas

Neurosurgery 88:1111–1120, 2021

Low-grade intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVF) have a benign natural history in the majority of cases. The benefit from treatment of these lesions is controversial.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the outcomes of observation versus intervention for low-grade dAVFs.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed dAVF patients from institutions participating in the CONsortium for Dural arteriovenous fistula Outcomes Research (CONDOR). Patients with low-grade (Borden type I) dAVFs were included and categorized into intervention or observation cohorts. The intervention and observation cohorts were matched in a 1:1 ratio using propensity scores. Primary outcome was modified Rankin Scale (mRS) at final follow-up. Secondary outcomes were excellent (mRS 0-1) and good (mRS 0-2) outcomes, symptomatic improvement, mortality, and obliteration at final follow-up.

RESULTS: The intervention and observation cohorts comprised 230 and 125 patients, respectively. We found no differences in primary or secondary outcomes between the 2 unmatched cohorts at last follow-up (mean duration 36 mo), except obliteration rate was higher in the intervention cohort (78.5% vs 24.1%, P < .001). The matched intervention and observation cohorts each comprised 78 patients. We also found no differences in primary or secondary outcomes between the matched cohorts except obliteration was also more likely in the matched intervention cohort (P < .001). Procedural complication rates in the unmatched and matched intervention cohorts were 15.4% and 19.2%, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Intervention for low-grade intracranial dAVFs achieves superior obliteration rates compared to conservative management, but it fails to improve neurological or functional outcomes. Our findings do not support the routine treatment of low-grade dAVFs.

Reconsidering an important subclass of high-risk dural arteriovenous fistulas for stereotactic radiosurgery

J Neurosurg 130:972–976, 2019

Aggressive dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) with cortical venous drainage (CVD) are known for their relatively high risk of recurrent neurological events or hemorrhage. However, recent natural history literature has indicated that nonaggressive dAVFs with CVD have a significantly lower prospective risk of hemorrhage. These nonaggressive dAVFs are typically diagnosed because of symptomatic headache, pulsatile tinnitus, or ocular symptoms, as in low-risk dAVFs. Therefore, the viability of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) as a treatment for this lesion subclass should be investigated.

METHODS The authors evaluated their institutional experience with SRS for dAVFs with CVD for the period from 1991 to 2016, assessing angiographic outcomes and posttreatment hemorrhage rates. They subsequently pooled their results with those published in the literature and stratified the results based on the mode of clinical presentation.

RESULTS In an institutional cohort of 42 dAVFs with CVD treated using SRS, there were no complications or hemorrhages after treatment in 19 patients with nonaggressive dAVFs, but there was 1 radiation-induced complication and 1 hemorrhage among the 23 patients with aggressive dAVFs. In pooling these cases with 155 additional cases from the literature, the authors found that the hemorrhage rate after SRS was significantly lower among the patients with nonaggressive dAVFs (0% vs 6.8%, p = 0.003). Similarly, the number of radiation-related complications was 0/124 in nonaggressive dAVF cases versus 6/73 in aggressive dAVF cases (p = 0.001). The annual rate of hemorrhage after SRS for aggressive fistulas was 3.0% over 164.5 patient-years, whereas none of the nonaggressive fistulas bled after radiosurgery over 279.4 patient-years of follow-up despite the presence of CVD.

CONCLUSIONS Cortical venous drainage is thought to be a significant risk factor in all dAVFs. In the institutional experience described here, SRS proved to be a low-risk strategy associated with a very low risk of subsequent hemorrhage or radiation-related complications in nonaggressive dAVFs with CVD.

Semi-quantitative assessment of flow dynamics during indocyanine green video-angiography in the treatment of intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas

Semi-quantitative assessment of flow dynamics during indocyanine green video-angiography in the treatment of intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas

Acta Neurochir (2016) 158:1387–1391

Indocyanine green video-angiography (IG-VA) is applied for intraoperative localisation and verification of surgical disconnection of intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (iDAVFs).

Method We describe the technique of semiquantitative flow analysis using Flow800 software that implements conventional IG-VA. Our method relies on simple comparison of the fluorescence curves of the exposed vessels, allowing precise localisation of the DAVF draining vein and verification of its surgical disconnection.

Conclusions Semi-quantitative flow analysis with Flow800 software during IG-VA is a reproducible technique that may overcome the limitations of conventional IG-VA in the surgical treatment of DAVFs.

Dural arteriovenous fistula–induced thalamic dementia

Thalamic DAVF

J Neurosurg 124:1752–1765, 2016

Nonhemorrhagic neurological deficits are underrecognized symptoms of intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) having cortical venous drainage. These symptoms are the consequence of cortical venous hypertension and portend a clinical course with increased risk of neurological morbidity and mortality. One rarely documented and easily misinterpreted type of nonhemorrhagic neurological deficit is progressive dementia, which can result from venous hypertension in the cortex or in bilateral thalami. The latter, which is due to dAVF drainage into the deep venous system, is the less common of these 2 dementia syndromes.

Herein, the authors report 4 cases of dAVF with venous drainage into the vein of Galen causing bithalamic edema and rapidly progressive dementia. Two patients were treated successfully with endovascular embolization, and the other 2 patients were treated successfully with endovascular embolization followed by surgery. The radiographic abnormalities and presenting symptoms rapidly resolved after dAVF obliteration in all 4 cases. Detailed descriptions of these 4 cases are presented along with a critical review of 15 previously reported cases.

In our analysis of these 19 published cases, the following were emphasized: 1) the clinical and radiographic differences between dAVF-induced thalamic versus cortical dementia syndromes; 2) the differential diagnosis and necessary radiographic workup for patients presenting with a rapidly progressive thalamic dementia syndrome; 3) the frequency at which delays in diagnosis occurred and potentially dangerous and avoidable diagnostic procedures were used; and 4) the rapidity and completeness of symptom resolution following dAVF treatment.

The anterior interhemispheric approach – a safe and effective approach to anterior skull base lesions

Interhemispheric app

Acta Neurochir (2014) 156:689–696

Many approaches to the anterior skull base have been reported. Frequently used are the pterional, the unilateral or bilateral frontobasal, the supraorbital and the frontolateral approach. Recently, endoscopic transnasal approaches have become more popular. The benefits of each approach has to be weighted against its complications and limitations. The aim of this study was to investigate if the anterior interhemispheric approach (AIA) could be a safe and effective alternative approach to tumorous and non-tumorous lesions of the anterior skull base.

Methods We screened the operative records of all patients with an anterior skull base lesion undergoing transcranial surgery.We have used the AIA in 61 patients. These were exclusively patients with either olfactory groove meningioma (OGM) (n =43), ethmoidal dural arteriovenous fistula (dAVF) ( n =6) or frontobasal fractures of the anterior midline with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage ( n =12). Patient records were evaluated concerning accessibility of the lesion, realization of surgical aims (complete tumor removal, dAVF obliteration, closure of the dural tear), and approach related complications.

Results The use of the AIA exclusively in OGMs, ethmoidal dAVFs and midline frontobasal fractures indicated that we considered lateralized frontobasal lesions not suitable to be treated successfully. If restricted to these three pathologies, the AIA is highly effective and safe. The surgical aim (complete tumor removal, complete dAVF occlusion, no rhinorrhea) was achieved in all patients. The complication rate was 11.5 % (wound infection (n =2; 3.2 %), contusion of the genu of the corpus callosum, subdural hygroma, epileptic seizure, anosmia and asymptomatic bleed into the tumor cavity (n =1 each). Only the contusion of the corpus callosum was directly related to the approach (1.6 %). Olfaction, if present before surgery, was preserved in all patients, except one (1.6 %).

Conclusions The AIA is an effective and a safe approach to tumorous, vascular and traumatic pathologies of the midline anterior skull base. This approach should be part of the armamentarium of skull base surgeons.

Hypoglossal canal dural arteriovenous fistula

Hypoglossal canal dural arteriovenous fistula

J Neurosurg 119:955–960, 2013

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the incidence, radiographic findings, relationship between presenting symptoms for treatment and drainage pattern, and treatment outcomes of hypoglossal canal dural arteriovenous fistula (HC-dAVF).

Methods. During a 16-year period, 238 patients underwent endovascular treatment for cranial dAVF at a single center. The incidence, radiographic findings, relationship between presenting symptoms for treatment and drainage pattern, and treatment outcomes of HC-dAVF were retrospectively evaluated.

Results. The incidence of HC-dAVF was 4.2% (n = 10). Initial symptoms were tinnitus with headache (n = 6), tinnitus only (n = 1), ocular symptoms (n = 1), otalgia (n = 1), and congestive myelopathy (n = 1). Presenting symptoms requiring treatment included ocular symptoms (n = 4), hypoglossal nerve palsy (n = 4), aggravation of myelopathy (n = 1), and aggravation of tinnitus with headache (n = 1). While the affected HC was widened in 4 of 10 patients, hypersignal intensity on source images was conspicuous in all 7 patients who underwent MR angiography (MRA). All ocular symptoms and congestive myelopathy were associated with predominant drainage to superior ophthalmic or perimedullary veins due to antegrade drainage restriction. All patients who underwent transvenous coil embolization (n = 8) or transarterial N-butyl cyanoacrylate (NBCA) embolization (n = 1) improved without recurrence. One patient who underwent transarterial particle embolization had a recurrence 12 months posttreatment and was retreated with transvenous embolization.

Conclusions. The incidence of HC-dAVF was 4.2% of all cranial dAVF patients who underwent endovascular treatment. Source images of MRA helped to accurately diagnose HC-dAVF. More aggressive symptoms may develop as a result of a change in the predominant drainage route due to the development of venous stenosis or obstruction over time. Transvenous coil embolization appears to be the first treatment of choice.

Indocyanine green videoangiography ‘‘in negative’’: definition and usefulness in spinal dural arteriovenous fistulae


Eur Spine J (2013) 22 (Suppl 3):S471–S477

Indocyanine green videoangiography (IGV) has proven its effectiveness in the field of exovascular neurosurgery, both in the intracranial and spinal compartment, but is necessary to define a systematic process for the performance of the IGV to facilitate its interpretation during the procedure. We have defined and applied the concept of videoangiography ‘‘in negative’’ (INIGV) to spinal dural arteriovenous fistulae (dAVF) for the detection and treatment of arteriovenous shunts, so called because the first phase is performed with the vessel suggestive of being pathological occluded.

Methods A Pentero-operating microscope with nearinfrared IGV-integrated system (Carl Zeiss Co., Germany) was used. At our institution, 24 patients were treated for a spinal dAVF between 1995 and 2011, only in the last 4 cases, INIGV was performed.

Results We describe the IGV in negative procedure and show the most illustrative cases. In all cases, the fistula occlusion was confirmed by postoperative selective digital subtraction angiography (DSA). INIGV demonstrate its capacity in detecting vessels not actually arterialized that should be respected and avoid some of the main limitations of the conventional IGV. This is a technical description about an Indocyanine green (ICG) videoangiographic procedure modification that is superior to merely performing ICG before and after clipping of a dAVF.

Conclusion The INIGV results are rapid and easy to interpret procedure and provide great advantages to the dAVF treatment. Nevertheless, further studies are needed with a larger sample size to determine if INIGV may reduce the need to perform immediate postoperative DSA.

Retrograde Leptomeningeal Venous Drainage and Venous Congestion With Dural Arteriovenous Fistula

The Use of Susceptibility-Weighted Imaging as an Indicator of Retrograde Leptomeningeal Venous Drainage and Venous Congestion With Dural Arteriovenous Fistula

Neurosurgery 72:47–55, 2013

Retrograde leptomeningeal venous drainage (RLVD) in dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) is associated with intracerebral hemorrhage and nonhemorrhagic neurological deficits or death. Angiographic evidence of RLVD is a definite indication for treatment, but less invasive methods of identifying RLVD are required.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy of susceptibility-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (SWI) in detecting RLVD in DAVFs.

METHODS: We retrospectively identified 17 DAVF patients who had angiographic evidence of RLVD and received treatment. Conventional angiography and SWI were assessed at pretreatment and posttreatment time points. The presence of RLVD on SWI was defined as cortical venous hyperintensity, and the presence of venous congestion on SWI venograms was defined as increased caliber of cortical or medullary veins.

RESULTS: Cortical venous hyperintensity was identified in pretreatment SWI of 15 patients. Cortical venous hyperintensity was absent in early posttreatment SWI, consistent with the absence of RLVD in posttreatment angiography, in all but one of these patients. In 2 patients, cortical venous hyperintensity was identified during follow-up, indicating the recurrence of RLVD. Cortical venous hyperintensity was not identified in the pretreatment SWI of 2 patients despite angiographic evidence of RLVD. Venous congestion was identified in pretreatment SWI venograms of 11 patients and had an appearance similar to that identified from angiography. Venous congestive signs improved over the follow-up period.

CONCLUSION: The presence of SWI hyperintensity within the venous structure could be a useful indicator of RLVD in DAVF patients. Thus, SWI offers a noninvasive alternative to angiography for the identification of RLVD in pretreated and posttreated DAVF patients.

Natural history of DAVFs without cortical venous drainage

J Neurosurg 117:539–545, 2012

The goal of this study was to determine the clinical course of Borden-Shucart Type I cranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) and to calculate the annual rate of conversion of these lesions to more aggressive fistulas that have cortical venous drainage (CVD).

Methods. A retrospective chart review was conducted of all patients harboring DAVFs who were seen at the authors’ institution between 1997 and 2009. Twenty-three patients with Type I DAVFs who had available clinical follow-up were identified. Angiographic and clinical data from these patients were reviewed. Neurological outcome and status of presenting symptoms were assessed during long-term follow-up.

Results. Of the 23 patients, 13 underwent endovascular treatment for intolerable tinnitus or ophthalmological symptoms, and 10 did not undergo treatment. Three untreated patients died of unrelated causes. In those who were treated, complete DAVF obliteration was achieved in 4 patients, and palliative reduction in DAVF flow was achieved in 9 patients. Of the 19 patients without radiographic cure, no patient developed intracranial hemorrhage or nonhemorrhagic neurological deficits (NHNDs), and no patient died of DAVF-related causes over a mean follow-up of 5.6 years. One patient experienced a spontaneous, asymptomatic obliteration of a partially treated DAVF in late follow-up, and 2 patients experienced a symptomatic conversion of their DAVF to a higher-grade fistula with CVD in late follow-up. The annual rate of conversion to a higher-grade DAVF based on Kaplan-Meier cumulative event-free survival analysis was 1.0%. The annual rate of intracranial hemorrhage, NHND, and DAVF-related death was 0.0%.

Conclusions. A small number of Type I DAVFs will convert to more aggressive DAVFs with CVD over time. This conversion to a higher-grade DAVF is typically heralded by a change in patient symptoms. Follow-up vascular imaging is important, particularly in the setting of recurrent or new symptoms.

Clinical presentation and prognostic factors of spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas

Neurosurg Focus 32 (5):E17, 2012. (http://thejns.org/doi/abs/10.3171/2012.1.FOCUS11376)

Spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs), the most common type of spinal cord vascular malformation, can be a challenge to diagnose and treat promptly. The disorder is rare, and the presenting clinical symptoms and signs are nonspecific and insidious at onset.

Spinal dural AVFs preferentially affect middle-aged men, and patients most commonly present with gait abnormality or lower-extremity weakness and sensory disturbances. Symptoms gradually progress or decline in a stepwise manner and are commonly associated with pain and sphincter disturbances. Surgical or endovascular disconnection of the fistula has a high success rate with a low rate of morbidity. Motor symptoms are most likely to improve after treatment, followed by sensory disturbances, and lastly sphincter disturbances.

Patients with severe neurological deficits at presentation tend to have worse posttreatment functional outcomes than those with mild or moderate pretreatment disability. However, improvement or stabilization of symptoms is seen in the vast majority of treated patients, and thus treatment is justified even in patients with substantial neurological deficits.

The extent of intramedullary spinal cord T2 signal abnormality does not correlate with outcomes and should not be used as a prognostic factor.

The Natural History of Cranial Dural Arteriovenous Fistulae With Cortical Venous Reflux—The Significance of Venous Ectasia

Neurosurgery 70:312–319, 2012 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e318230966f

The quoted risk of hemorrhage from dural arteriovenous fistulae with cortical venous reflux varies widely, and the influence of angiographic grade on clinical course has not previously been reported.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the risk of hemorrhage and the influence of angiographic grade on this risk, compared with known predictors of hemorrhage such as presentation.

METHODS: Seventy-five fistulae with cortical venous reflux identified in our arteriovenous malformations clinic between 1992 and 2007 were followed up clinically, and their angiograms were reviewed.

RESULTS: There were 8 hemorrhages in 90 years of follow-up. The annual incidence of hemorrhage before any treatment was 13%, and 4.7% after partial treatment, giving an overall incidence of 8.9% before definitive treatment. Borden and Cognard grades were poor discriminators of risk for lesions with the exception of Cognard type IV lesions. These lesions, characterized by venous ectasia, had a 7-fold increase in the incidence of hemorrhage (3.5% no ectasia vs 27% with ectasia). Patients presenting with hemorrhage (20%) or nonhemorrhagic neurological deficit (22%) had a higher incidence of hemorrhage than those with a benign presentation (4.3%), but this may be directly linked to the presence of venous ectasia.

CONCLUSION: In this series untreated dural arteriovenous fistulae with cortical venous reflux had a 13% annual incidence of hemorrhage after diagnosis. There was a significant difference between those with and without venous ectasia. This should be confirmed by further studies, but probably defines a high-risk subgroup of patients that requires rapid intervention.

The use of 3D computer graphics in the diagnosis and treatment of spinal vascular malformations

J Neurosurg Spine 15:654–659, 2011. DOI: 10.3171/2011.8.SPINE11155

Digital subtraction (DS) angiography is the gold standard for diagnosing spinal vascular malformations. Recently, multidetector-row spiral CT and contrast-enhanced MR angiography have been introduced as screening examinations before DS angiography. These methods, however, do not always determine the accurate location of an arteriovenous shunt because the resulting images lack information about the spinal cord or the dura mater.

Methods. Between April 2009 and December 2010, 13 patients underwent imaging evaluations for spinal vascular malformations at the authors’ university hospital. This group included 8 patients with spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs), 3 with perimedullary AVFs, and 2 with intramedullary arteriovenous malformations. Using data from these patients, the authors attempted to develop 3D computer graphics (CG) based upon the fusion of 3D rotational angiography and postmyelographic CT. They subsequently verified the accuracy of this imaging method. Ten of these 13 patients underwent surgical treatment for their lesions (11 AVFs), and for these 11 lesions the authors compared the diagnoses obtained using 3D CG with those obtained using conventional DS angiography.

Results. In all 13 cases, 3D CG images of the spinal lesions were successfully developed using the patients’ actual data. Four (36%) of 11 AVFs were correctly identified using DS angiography, whereas 10 (91%) were correctly identified using 3D CG. Results from 3D CG of spinal AVFs corresponded well with operative findings, and 3D CG was significantly better than conventional DS angiography at predicting AVF location (p = 0.024, Fisher exact test).

Conclusions. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first reported case series in which 3D CG of spinal vascular malformations was used to provide simultaneous, stereoscopic visualization of the spinal vascular system, spinal cord, dura mater, and bone. The 3D CG method provides precise visual images for the diagnosis and treatment of these lesions.

Management, risk factors and outcome of cranial dural arteriovenous fistulae: a single-center experience

Acta Neurochir (2011) 153:1273–1281. DOI 10.1007/s00701-011-0981-x

The role of endovascular interventions in managing dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) is increasing. Furthermore, in patients with aggressive DAVFs, different surgical interventions are required for complete obliteration or disconnection. Our objective was to evaluate the management of patients with intracranial DAVFs treated in our institution to identify the parameters that may help guide the long-term management of these lesions.

Methods The hospital records of 53 patients with intracranial DAVFs were reviewed. We then conducted a systematic telephone interview to obtain long-term follow-up information.

Results The main presenting symptoms were tinnitus and headache. Nineteen (35%) patients presented with intracranial bleeding, 84% of patients scored between 0 and 2 using a modified Rankin Scale at the last follow-up visit. Twentyfour patients were treated surgically. Overall postoperative complications occurred in seven (29%) surgically treated patients, but only two patients permanently worsened. For patients with Borden type II and III fistulas, the annual incidence of hemorrhage was 30%. Two patients had late recurrences of surgically and endovascularly occluded DAVFs. Long-term follow-up showed that compared with spinal DAVFs, only 50% of intracranial DAVFs showed complete remission of symptoms, 41% partial remission, 6% no remission and 4% deterioration of symptoms that led to treatment of the DAVF.

Conclusion In general, intracranial DAVFs can be successfully surgically managed by simple venous disconnection in many cases. However, half of the patients do not show complete remission of symptoms. Age and the occurrence of perioperative complication were the most important determinants of outcome.

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