Introduction: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the single-centre experience with transvenous coil treatment of dural carotid-cavernous sinus fistulas.
Methods: Between November 1991 and December 2005, a total of 141 patients (112 female) with dural carotid-cavernous sinus fistula underwent 161 transvenous treatment sessions. The patient files and angiograms were analysed retrospectively. Clinical signs and symptoms included chemosis (94%), exophthalmos (87%), cranial nerve palsy (54%), increased intraocular pressure (60%), diplopia (51%), and impaired vision (28%). Angiography revealed in addition cortical drainage in 34% of the patients. Partial arterial embolization was carried out in 23% of the patients. Transvenous treatment comprised in by far the majority of patients complete filling of the cavernous sinus and the adjacent segment of the superior and inferior ophthalmic vein with detachable coils.
Results: Complete interruption of the arteriovenous shunt was achieved in 81% of the patients. A minor residual shunt (without cortical or ocular drainage) remained in 13%, a significant residual shunt (with cortical or ocular drainage) remained in 4%, and the attempted treatment failed in 2%. There was a tendency for ocular pressure-related symptoms to resolve rapidly, while cranial nerve palsy and diplopia improved slowly (65%) or did not change (11%). The 39 patients with visual impairment recovered within the first 2 weeks after endovascular treatment. After complete interruption of the arteriovenous shunt, no recurrence was observed.
Conclusion: The transvenous coil occlusion of the superior and inferior ophthalmic veins and the cavernous sinus of the symptomatic eye is a highly efficient and safe treatment in dural carotid-cavernous sinus fistulas. In the majority of patients a significant and permanent improvement in clinical signs and symptoms can be achieved.