Treatment outcomes and the role of the DES scheme in the appropriate treatment selection for high-grade dural arteriovenous fistulas

Neurosurg Focus. 2024 Mar;56(3):E11. doi: 10.3171/2023.12.FOCUS23788.


Objective: Endovascular and microsurgical treatment are viable options for the majority of Borden type III dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs). The aim of this study was to examine treatment outcomes in a comparative analysis of endovascular and surgical treatment modalities for Borden type III fistulas and explore clinical implications of the DES scheme in selecting ideal candidates for surgical therapy.

Methods: Patients diagnosed with dAVFs with leptomeningeal venous drainage admitted to the Departments of Neurosurgery or Neuroradiology of the University Hospital Zurich between January 2014 and October 2021 were included in this study. Comprehensive patient data including demographics, clinical presentation, and dAVF characteristics, including established classifications, were collected. Treatment outcomes were assessed based on postinterventional angiography findings. In addition, treatment-related complications were assessed based on the Clavien-Dindo classification.

Results: Among all Borden type III dAVFs, 15 were initially treated endovascularly (60% complete occlusion rate) and 10 with microsurgical disconnection (90% complete occlusion rate) (p = 0.18). Subgroup analysis of dAVFs meeting the criteria for directness and exclusivity based on the DES scheme showed a 100% complete occlusion rate after microsurgical disconnection, whereas embolization achieved a complete occlusion rate of 60% (p = 0.06). There was no significant difference in the rate or severity of treatment-related complications between treatment modalities.

Conclusions: This study suggests that microsurgical disconnection is a viable primary treatment modality for Borden type III dAVFs, particularly for dAVFs that meet the criteria of directness and exclusivity according to the DES scheme. The DES scheme demonstrates its relevance in selecting the most appropriate treatment strategy for affected patients.

Keywords: Borden classification; DES scheme; Zurich classification; cranial dural arteriovenous fistula; embolization; microsurgery.

MeSH terms

  • Angiography
  • Central Nervous System Vascular Malformations* / diagnostic imaging
  • Central Nervous System Vascular Malformations* / surgery
  • Embolization, Therapeutic*
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome