Cerebral haemodynamics in patients with dural arteriovenous fistulae (DAVF) have not been fully investigated and their effects are not clear. Our purpose was to assess impaired haemodynamics in patients with DAVF using dynamic susceptibility contrast-enhanced MRI (DSC-MRI). We used this technique in eight control subjects (group I) and 17 patients with DAVF who were scheduled to undergo or had already undergone endovascular embolisation and/or surgical excision. There were seven patients with cavernous sinus DAVF (CSDAVF) and the other ten had unilateral transverse/sigmoid sinus DAVF. All patients with CSDAVF underwent DSC-MRI preoperatively (group II) and those with transverse/sigmoid sinus DAVF underwent preoperative DSC-MRI (group III) and postoperative (group IV) assessment. The ratios of relative cerebral blood volume (rCBV), cerebral blood flow (rCBF) and mean transit time (rMTT) were calculated relative to contralateral values. Patients in group II had no significant haemodynamic impairment in grey (GM) or white matter (WM), but cerebellar rMTT were significantly prolonged ( P<0.05). Group III showed haemodynamic impairment characterised by significant increase in rCBV, prolongation of rMTT and decrease in rCBF in GM ( P<0.05). Significantly increased rCBV and prolonged rMTT in the GM ( P<0.05) were obvious in group III patients irrespective of retrograde leptomeningeal venous drainage (RLVD). In group IV, rCBV and rCBF returned to normal values, whereas rMTT was still significantly prolonged in GM ( P<0.05). Our study indicates that patients with CSDAVF may have impaired cerebellar perfusion, and that those with transverse/sigmoid sinus DVAF can have disturbed cerebral haemodynamics, even in the absence of RLVD.