Endovascular treatment of spinal arteriovenous malformations

Handb Clin Neurol. 2017;143:161-174. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-63640-9.00016-3.


Spinal arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are a rare but treatable cause of myelopathy and spinal cord hemorrhage. The clinical presentation and ideal treatment of these lesions vary widely, primarily due to differences in anatomic and angioarchitectural features. Six well-defined types of fistula have been defined: (1) intradural dorsal AVM; (2) intramedullary AVM; (3) extradural-intradural AVM; (4) intradural ventral AVF; (5) extradural/epidural AVF; and (6) conus medullaris AVM. Each of these lesions have unique clinical presentations and variable natural histories and endovascular treatment options. The principles of endovascular treatment include: (1) a complete understanding of the angioarchitecture and anatomic features of the lesion, including identification of radiculomedullary arteries; (2) careful spinal angiography; (3) identification of treatment goals prior to the procedure (i.e., complete occlusion versus partial occlusion aimed at altering natural history); (4) selection of proper embolic agent; and (5) careful follow-up in both the immediate postoperative setting and long term.

Keywords: embolization; endovascular; myelopathy; spinal arteriovenous malformation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arteriovenous Malformations / pathology
  • Arteriovenous Malformations / therapy*
  • Central Nervous System Vascular Malformations / pathology
  • Central Nervous System Vascular Malformations / therapy*
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / methods*
  • Endovascular Procedures*
  • Humans
  • Postoperative Period
  • Spinal Cord / blood supply*
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / etiology