Balloon-assisted transarterial embolization of intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas

J Neurosurg. 2009 May;110(5):921-8. doi: 10.3171/2008.10.JNS08119.


Object: The authors report their preliminary experience using a balloon-assisted technique (BAT) in the transarterial embolization of intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs).

Methods: The authors reviewed the prospectively collected data obtained in 7 consecutive patients with DAVFs in whom embolization was achieved using transarterially injected Onyx with either the venous or arterial BAT. Procedures were performed at the Division of Interventional Neuroradiology at the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center between September 2005 and January 2008.

Results: Three patients presented with cortical venous reflux and 4 did not. Three patients underwent transarterial Onyx-based embolization combined with transvenous balloon protection; the balloon was inflated in the transverse sinus in 2 of these patients and in the superior sagittal sinus in the third. One of them underwent an additional transarterial Onyx embolization with arterial BAT, whereas 4 other patients were treated with arterial BAT alone. The occipital artery was temporarily occluded with the balloon in 4 of these cases, whereas in the fifth, the authors used temporary balloon occlusion of the middle meningeal artery. Angiograms obtained immediately after embolization demonstrated complete or near-complete obliteration of the fistula in 6 patients and partial occlusion in 1 patient. There were no immediate or postprocedural complications. Two patients who presented with intracranial hemorrhage never suffered a second hemorrhage, and all other patients experienced either complete resolution or significant improvement of their symptoms.

Conclusions: The BAT provides a new complementary method in the transarterial embolization of DAVFs that are not amenable to transvenous embolization. The venous BAT protects the patency of critical venous pathways, whereas the arterial BAT provides better control of the Onyx-based embolization.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Balloon Occlusion* / methods
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / therapeutic use
  • Dura Mater / blood supply*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polyvinyls / therapeutic use
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Onyx copolymer
  • Polyvinyls
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide