Symptomatic high-flow arteriovenous fistula after a C-2 fracture. Case report

J Neurosurg Spine. 2008 Apr;8(4):381-4. doi: 10.3171/SPI/2008/8/4/381.


Spinal arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs) are relatively uncommon lesions that are often diagnosed in a delayed fashion. The authors present a cause of a symptomatic high-flow AVF that developed in a patient after traumatic injury to the upper cervical spine. The patient presented to the trauma bay after a motor vehicle collision, and was found to have a C-2 fracture involving the transverse foramen. Although the patient was neurologically intact on presentation, 6 hours after admission weakness developed on his left side. Imaging studies demonstrated complete transection of the distal cervical aspect of the right vertebral artery (VA) at the base of C-2, with antegrade and retrograde flow into a direct AVF, resulting in early filling of the right internal jugular vein and other external draining veins. The patient was treated endovascularly with coil occlusion of the VA both proximal and distal to the transection. The patient's weakness improved over the next 7 days. At the 12-week follow-up examination, the patient's fractures had healed and he was neurologically intact.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arteriovenous Fistula / diagnosis
  • Arteriovenous Fistula / etiology*
  • Arteriovenous Fistula / therapy
  • Cervical Vertebrae / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Jugular Veins / pathology*
  • Male
  • Spinal Fractures / complications*
  • Spinal Fractures / diagnosis
  • Spinal Fractures / therapy
  • Vertebral Artery / pathology*