Objective: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of stereotactic radiosurgery, either with or without transarterial embolization, in the treatment of patients with dural arteriovenous fistulae (DAVFs) of the cavernous sinus.
Methods: We reviewed the findings, from a prospectively established database, for 20 patients with cavernous sinus DAVFs who were treated with either radiosurgery alone (n = 7) or radiosurgery and transarterial embolization (n = 13) in a 7-year period. The median follow-up period after radiosurgery was 36 months (range, 4-59 mo).
Results: Nineteen of 20 patients (95%) experienced improvement of their clinical symptoms. Fourteen of 15 patients (93%) experienced either total (n = 13) or nearly total (n = 1) obliteration of their DAVFs, as documented by angiography performed a median of 12 months after radiosurgery. No patient experienced a recurrence of symptoms after angiography showed DAVF obliteration. Two patients developed new neurological deficits after embolization procedures. One patient exhibited temporary aphasia secondary to a venous infarction; another patient exhibited permanent VIth cranial nerve weakness related to acute cavernous sinus thrombosis. Two patients experienced recurrent symptoms and underwent repeat transarterial embolization at 7 and 12 months; both patients achieved clinical and angiographic cures (5 and 10 mo later, respectively). One patient experienced recurrent visual symptoms and underwent transvenous embolization 4 months after radiosurgery.
Conclusion: Staged radiosurgery and transarterial embolization provided both rapid symptom relief and long-term cures for patients with cavernous sinus DAVFs. Radiosurgery alone was effective for patients with DAVFs whose arterial supply was not accessible via a transarterial approach, although the time course of symptom improvement was longer, compared with patients who also underwent embolization.