Transvenous occlusion of dural cavernous sinus fistulas through the thrombosed inferior petrosal sinus: report of four cases and review of the literature

Surg Neurol. 2000 Jul;54(1):42-54. doi: 10.1016/s0090-3019(00)00260-3.


Background: The aim of this study is to describe the technique and results of the endovascular approach through the thrombosed inferior petrosal sinus (IPS) for occlusion of dural cavernous sinus fistulas (DCSFs).

Methods: In four patients presenting with clinically symptomatic DCSFs, the angiogram did not show opacification of the IPS, indicating that it neither drained the arteriovenous fistula nor the cerebral venous outflow. A large volume biplane phlebogram of the jugular bulb was obtained to identify a thrombosed remnant of the IPS. We were able to navigate small hydrophilic catheters and microguide wires through the thrombosed IPS into the ipsi- or contralateral CS. After reaching the fistula site the CS was packed with detachable platinum coils.

Results: We were able to reach the fistula site and to achieve a dense packing of coils within the arteriovenous shunting zone in all of the patients. The final angiogram showed subtotal or complete occlusion of the arteriovenous fistula. All four patients recovered completely and showed disappearance of the fistula on follow-up arteriograms. One patient developed a transient sixth nerve palsy. No complications related to the approach were observed.

Conclusions: For endovascular treatment, transvenous occlusion of DCSFs via the IPS is a feasible approach, even when this sinus is partially or completely thrombosed. Gentle handling of recently available, improved hydrophilic microguide wires and microcatheters allows effective and safe catheter navigation into the CS. A phlebogram of the jugular bulb is very useful for identification of a thrombosed IPS.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arteriovenous Fistula / diagnosis
  • Arteriovenous Fistula / therapy*
  • Catheterization
  • Cavernous Sinus / surgery*
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / instrumentation*
  • Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial / diagnosis
  • Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial / therapy*
  • Surgical Instruments