Object: The aim of this study was to describe the application of a novel transarterial approach to curative embolization of complex intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs). This technique is particularly useful in patients harboring high-grade DAVFs with direct cortical venous drainage or for whom transvenous coil embolization is not possible because of limited sinus venous access to the fistula site due to thrombosis or stenotic changes.
Methods: Twenty-three DAVFs in 21 patients were treated using a transarterial N-butyl cyanoacrylate (NBCA) embolization technique with the aid of a wedged catheter. In all patients, definitive treatment involved two critical steps: 1) a microcatheter was wedged within a feeding artery, establishing flow-arrest conditions within the catheterized vessel distal to the microcatheter tip; and 2) NBCA was injected under these resultant flow-arrest conditions across the pathological arteriovenous connection and into the immediate draining venous apparatus, definitively occluding the fistula. Patient data were collected in a retrospective manner by reviewing office and inpatient charts and embolization reports, and by directly analyzing all procedural and diagnostic angiograms. Eight patients presented with the principal complaint of tinnitus/bruit, five with intracranial hemorrhage, four with cavrnous sinus syndrome, and one each with seizures, ataxia, visual field loss, and hiccups. The parent (recipient) venous structure of the DAVFs in this study included 11 leptomeningeal veins, eight transverse/sigmoid sinuses, three cavernous sinuses, and one sphenoparietal sinus. The NBCA permeated the arteriovenous shunt, perifistulous network, and proximal draining vein in all DAVFs. Occlusion was confirmed on postembolization angiography studies. No complication occurred in any patient in this series. There has been no recurrence during a mean follow up of 18.7 months (range 2-46 months).
Conclusions: Transarterial NBCA embolization with the aid of a wedged catheter in flow-arrest conditions is a safe and an effective treatment for intracranial DAVFs.