Intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas: analysis of 60 patients

Cerebrovasc Dis. 2002;13(2):79-88. doi: 10.1159/000047755.


Objective: To analyze and update the clinical symptomatology, CT and MRI findings, angiographic features, and therapeutic outcomes of patients with dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs).

Background: Studies of DAVFs in a large number of patients have seldom appeared in neurology literature.

Methods: The authors investigated 60 consecutive patients with DAVFs who were admitted between January 1991 and January 2001. The DAVFs were graded into five types according to the classification of Cognard et al. [Radiology 1995;194:671-680]. Presumable etiologies, clinical features, imaging findings and therapeutic outcomes were evaluated on the basis of the location and type of DAVFs.

Results: Sinus thrombosis, previous trauma, craniotomy, cerebral infarction and acupuncture were detected as possible etiologic factors of DAVFs. The cavernous sinus (57%) was the most common location of DAVFs. Although the neurological symptoms were closely related to the location of the DAVFs, in some patients, there were also symptoms that did not reflect the location. Although the women outnumbered the men, the men presented with aggressive neurological manifestations more often (p < 0.05). Ten out of 12 patients (83%) with DAVFs involving locations other than the large sinuses presented with aggressive neurological manifestations. 70% of brain CTs and 81% of brain MRIs showed abnormal findings suggestive of DAVFs. Of 33 patients who underwent only endovascular embolization, 29 patients (88%) were cured or improved. Radiosurgery and surgical excision done in some patients provided fair results. Patients with DAVFs involving large sinuses showed a better therapeutic outcome than those in whom locations other than the large sinuses were involved, while patients without venous ectasia had more a favorable outcome than those with it (each, p < 0.01).

Conclusions: DAVFs result from various etiologic factors, show diverse manifestations usually reflecting the location and can be treated successfully in most patients. Factors related to poor clinical outcome include male sex, the presence of venous ectasia and involved locations other than the large sinuses.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Central Nervous System Vascular Malformations / diagnostic imaging
  • Central Nervous System Vascular Malformations / etiology*
  • Central Nervous System Vascular Malformations / therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Embolization, Therapeutic
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Korea / epidemiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome