Transvenous treatment of carotid cavernous and dural arteriovenous fistulae: results for 31 patients and review of the literature

Neurosurgery. 2003 Oct;53(4):836-56; discussion 856-7. doi: 10.1227/01.neu.0000083551.26295.ab.


Objective: To evaluate findings for patients with carotid cavernous fistulae or dural arteriovenous fistulae (AVFs) who underwent transvenous embolization via different transvenous approaches.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of data for 31 patients (age range, 17-81 yr; mean age, 59.3 yr) with carotid cavernous fistulae (n = 6) or dural AVFs (cavernous sinus [CS], n = 11; transverse/sigmoid sinus, n = 14) was performed. The AVFs were treated with coils via different transvenous approaches, in 56 procedures. Doppler ultrasonography and time-resolved, two-dimensional, magnetic resonance projection angiography were performed to confirm the treatment. The mean clinical follow-up period was 32.5 months.

Results: A total of 34 transvenous procedures were performed for 17 AVFs of the CS. Eleven patients with AVFs of the CS (63%) were cured with respect to clinical symptoms, and six patients experienced improvement (37%). The approach via the internal jugular vein and inferior petrosal sinus (n = 15) was possible in 60% of cases, with complete occlusion of the fistula in 78% of cases. With the approach via the facial vein (n = 8), there was a 50% success rate. The superior ophthalmic vein approach (n = 5) was associated with a high rate of technical success (100%), with a rate of complete fistula occlusion of 80%. We encountered complications, with transient morbidity, in four cases (23.5%). For 14 dural AVFs of the transverse/sigmoid sinus, 22 transvenous procedures were performed; 12 patients were cured (85.7%) and 2 experienced improvement (14.3%). The technical success rate was 86%, with complete occlusion in 42% of cases. Minor complications occurred in six cases (42.9%) but did not lead to permanent morbidity.

Conclusion: Transvenous treatment of CS and transverse/sigmoid sinus AVFs can be effective if all transvenous approaches, including combined surgical/endovascular approaches, are considered.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carotid-Cavernous Sinus Fistula / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid-Cavernous Sinus Fistula / therapy*
  • Central Nervous System Vascular Malformations / diagnostic imaging
  • Central Nervous System Vascular Malformations / therapy*
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Embolization, Therapeutic* / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Veins