Exclusively epidural arteriovenous fistula in the cervical spine with spinal cord symptoms: case report

Neurosurgery. 2001 Jun;48(6):1372-5; discussion 1375-6. doi: 10.1097/00006123-200106000-00043.


Objective and importance: We describe the case of an epidural arteriovenous fistula (AVF) in the cervical spine draining only into the epidural and paravertebral plexus. An entirely epidural AVF having such drainage is extremely rare.

Clinical presentation: A 24-year-old man presented with a 4-month history of gradually progressive sensory and motor disturbances of the upper and lower extremities. Magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance angiography revealed a peridural vascular lesion within the canal compressing the spinal cord from C5 to T2. Diagnostic angiography revealed a perimedullary and/or dural high-flow AVF, fed mainly by branches of ascending cervical and deep cervical arteries. The fistula drained into the epidural and paravertebral venous plexus without reflux into intradural venous systems.

Intervention: Multiple feeders of the AVF were embolized with a Liquid coil and n-butylcyanoacrylate via a two-step procedure. One week after embolization, the AVF was surgically removed.

Conclusion: Interesting points of this case were the exclusively epidural location of the lesion, the exclusively epidural drainage of the AVF, and the etiology of the symptoms. Venous drainage of the fistula had no relation to any dural or intradural veins. Initially, spinal cord and nerve root compression by extradural veins with varicose dilation seemed to cause the radiculopathy and/or the myelopathy, and subsequent myelopathy caused by spinal venous hypertension was believed to be the main etiology in this case.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Angiography
  • Arteriovenous Fistula / complications*
  • Arteriovenous Fistula / diagnosis
  • Arteriovenous Fistula / surgery
  • Arteriovenous Fistula / therapy
  • Embolization, Therapeutic
  • Epidural Space / blood supply*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / etiology*
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures