Volumetric myelographic magnetic resonance imaging to localize difficult-to-find spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas

J Neurosurg Spine. 2011 Mar;14(3):398-404. doi: 10.3171/2010.11.SPINE10328. Epub 2011 Jan 21.


Although more prevalent in males in the 6th and 7th decade of life, spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (SDAVFs) are an uncommon cause of progressive myelopathy. Magnetic resonance imaging and more recently Gd bolus MR angiography have been used to diagnose, radiographically define, and preprocedurally localize the contributing lumbar artery. Three-dimensional myelographic MR imaging sequences have recently been developed for anatomical evaluation of the spinal canal. The authors describe 3 recent cases in which volumetric myelographic MR imaging with a 3D phase-cycled fast imaging employing steady state acquisition (PC-FIESTA) and a 3D constructive interference steady state (CISS) technique were particularly useful not only for documenting an SDAVF, but also for providing localization when CT angiography, MR imaging, MR angiography, and spinal angiography failed to localize the fistula. In a patient harboring an SDAVF at T-4, surgical exploration was performed based on the constellation of findings on the PC-FIESTA images as well as the fact that the spinal segments leading to T-4 were the only ones that the authors were unable to catheterize. In a second patient, who harbored an SDAVF at T-6, after 2 separate angiograms failed to demonstrate the fistula, careful assessment of the CISS images led the authors to focus a third angiogram on the left T-6 intercostal artery and to perform superselective microcatheterization. In a third patient with an SDAVF originating from the lateral sacral branch, the PC-FIESTA sequence demonstrated the arterialized vein extending into the S-1 foramen, leading to a second angiogram and superselective internal iliac injections. The authors concluded that myelographic MR imaging sequences can be useful not only as an aid to diagnosis but also for localization of an SDAVF in complex cases.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arteriovenous Fistula / diagnosis
  • Arteriovenous Fistula / diagnostic imaging*
  • Arteriovenous Fistula / pathology
  • Central Nervous System Vascular Malformations / diagnosis
  • Central Nervous System Vascular Malformations / diagnostic imaging*
  • Central Nervous System Vascular Malformations / pathology
  • Dura Mater / blood supply
  • Dura Mater / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Spinal Cord / blood supply
  • Spinal Cord / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed