Imaging features and prognostic factors in fetal and postnatal torcular dural sinus malformations, part I: review of experience at Boston Children's Hospital

J Neurointerv Surg. 2018 May;10(5):467-470. doi: 10.1136/neurintsurg-2017-013344. Epub 2017 Sep 30.


Background: Even for the most common dural sinus malformation (DSM), the torcular DSM (tDSM), generalizable statements about etiology and prognosis are difficult because neurosurgeons/neuroradiologists and obstetrical imagers have focused on different patient age groups, have reported different outcomes, and have offered differing pathophysiologic explanations.

Objective: To examine the imaging features and outcomes of a local cohort of tDSMs across fetal-neonatal life for commonalities.

Methods: Review of imaging and clinical outcome for a local cohort of 12 tDSM patients (9 fetal, 3 postnatal).

Results: All 12 tDSMs had similar imaging characteristics, including enlargement of the torcular and intraluminal thrombus early on, later evolving to peripheral scar tissue after treatment or spontaneous regression. Spontaneous decrease in size of the tDSM was observed in 6 prenatal and 1 postnatal case, and this decrease appeared to be irreversible once it occurred. One of 9 prenatal tDSMs was demonstrated to have arteriovenous fistulae in utero, while 2 of 3 postnatal diagnoses had arteriovenous fisutlae. All 6 prenatal tDSM diagnoses followed to term and all 3 postnatal diagnoses had a grossly normal neurologic outcome after a median of 12 months of age.

Conclusions: Prenatal and postnatal tDSMs have overlapping imaging features suggesting a common etiology, and involution of a tDSM is a key imaging biomarker for a favorable outcome. While there is reason for concern with postnatally diagnosed tDSMs, good outcomes may still be achieved across the fetal-neonatal age spectrum of presentations. These findings are generalized in part II of this article.

Keywords: dural arteriovenous fistula; dural sinus malformation; fetal vascular malformation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arteriovenous Fistula / diagnostic imaging*
  • Arteriovenous Fistula / epidemiology
  • Boston / epidemiology
  • Cranial Sinuses / abnormalities
  • Cranial Sinuses / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitals, Pediatric*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / diagnostic imaging*
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods*