Onyx: a unique neuroembolic agent

Expert Rev Med Devices. 2006 Nov;3(6):705-15. doi: 10.1586/17434440.3.6.705.


Rupture of a cerebral arteriovenous malformation can result in devastating hemorrhage with a possibility of serious neurological injury or death. Endovascular embolization is an important adjunct in the treatment of cerebral arteriovenous malformations, and in a small number of cases may provide definitive treatment. Currently available embolic agents have several shortcomings, including the possibility of recanalization, adhesiveness to the endovascular microcatheter and suboptimal handling at the time of surgical resection. Onyx is an ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide that was approved by the US FDA in July 2005 as an embolic agent for brain arteriovenous malformations. Although long-term follow-up is limited, this agent appears to offer several advantages over the other available embolic agents for the endovascular management of arteriovenous malformations and other vascular lesions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / prevention & control*
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / therapeutic use*
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / methods*
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / complications
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / drug therapy
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / therapy*
  • Polyvinyls / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Onyx copolymer
  • Polyvinyls
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide