Object: Most dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) of the transverse and sigmoid sinuses do not have angiographically demonstrated features associated with intracranial hemorrhage and, therefore, may be treated nonsurgically. The authors report their experience using a staged combination of radiosurgery and transarterial embolization for treating DAVFs involving the transverse and sigmoid sinuses.
Methods: Between 1991 and 1998, 25 patients with DAVFs of the transverse and/or sigmoid sinuses were treated using stereotactic radiosurgery; 22 of these patients also underwent transarterial embolization. Two patients were lost to follow-up review. Clinical data, angiographic findings, and follow-up records for the remaining 23 patients were collected prospectively. The mean duration of clinical follow up after radiosurgery was 50 months (range 20-99 months). The 18 women and five men included in this series had a mean age of 57 years (range 33-79 years). Twenty-two (96%) of 23 patients presented with pulsatile tinnitus as the primary symptom; two patients had experienced an earlier intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). Cognard classifications of the DAVFs included the following: I in 12 patients (52%), IIa in seven patients (30%), and III in four patients (17%). After treatment, symptoms resolved (20 patients) or improved significantly (two patients) in 96% of patients. One patient was clinically unchanged. No patient sustained an ICH or irradiation-related complication during the follow-up period. Seventeen patients underwent follow-up angiographic studies at a mean of 21 months after radiosurgery (range 11-38 months). Total or near-total obliteration (> 90%) was seen in 11 patients (65%), and more than a 50% reduction in six patients (35%). Two patients experienced recurrent tinnitus and underwent repeated radiosurgery and embolization at 21 and 38 months, respectively, after the first procedure.
Conclusions: A staged combination of radiosurgery and transarterial embolization provides excellent symptom relief and a good angiographically verified cure rate for patients harboring low-risk DAVFs of the transverse and sigmoid sinuses. This combined approach is a safe and effective treatment strategy for patients without angiographically determined risk factors for hemorrhage and for elderly patients with significant comorbidities.