Purpose: Presentation of the clinical and radiological findings in spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (SDAVF) based on the experience in 54 patients.
Material and methods: Evaluation of patients' records and myelography (n = 23), MRI (n = 54) as well as conventional angiography (n = 54) with respect to history, symptoms, clinical and radiological results.
Results: Clinically, a long history (mean 20 months) with progressive ascending paresis (100 %), sensory deficits (93 %) and loss of control over bladder and bowel function (89 %) in male patients (78 %) of advanced age (mean 60 years) indicates the disease. Typical signs in MRI are central cord hyperintensity (100 %) with slight medullary distension (74 %), contrast enhancement (79 %) and distended perimedullary veins (89 %), the latter being disclosed by myelography in 78 % of cases. For diagnosis spinal angiography is necessary which most often shows a thoracic location of the fistula (69 %), more than one feeding artery (67 %) and caudal as well as rostral venous drainage (63 %).
Conclusion: MRI is superior to myelography to detect diagnostic signs of SDAVF in patients with typical clinical presentation. For definitive diagnosis spinal angiography is still indispensable.