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Open access

Vein of Galen malformations in the newborn: case series

Erik F. Hauck, Jeremy A. Yarden, Lily I. Hauck, Joseph M. Bibawy, Shervin Mirshahi, and Gerald A. Grant

BACKGROUND

Vein of Galen malformations (VoGMs) in newborns often represent life-threatening emergencies. Outcome is difficult to predict. The authors review 50 VoGM cases to correlate anatomical types with treatment and outcome.

OBSERVATIONS

Four distinct types of VoGMs are identified: mural simple (type I), mural complex (type II), choroidal (type III), and choroidal with deep venous drainage (type IV). Seven patients presented with mural simple VoGMs with a “single hole” fistula supplied by only one large feeder. These patients were treated electively at >6 months; development was normal. Fifteen patients presented with complex mural VoGMs. Multiple large feeders joined a single fistulous point within the wall of the varix. Patients typically presented with congestive heart failure (CHF) and required emergent transarterial intervention. Mortality was 7.7% with less than two-thirds developing normally. Twenty-five patients presented with choroidal VoGMs. Multiple large arterial feeders joined at multiple fistulous sites. Severe CHF in most patients required emergent transarterial and sometimes transvenous intervention. Mortality was 9.5%; two-thirds of the patients had a normal development. Three babies presented with choroidal VoGMs with deep intraventricular venous drainage. This phenomenon caused fatal “melting brain syndrome” in all three patients.

LESSONS

Recognition of the specific VoGM type determines treatment options and sets outcome expectations.

Open access

A deceptive mass on neonatal ultrasound and a fetal brain MRI-confirmed complex dural arteriovenous fistula postnatally: illustrative case

Elliot T. Varney, Charlotte S. Taylor, Allen G. Crosthwait, Kristin Weaver, and Todd Nichols

BACKGROUND

Dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) are direct, aberrant connections between dural arteries and cerebral veins. In neonates, delayed diagnosis results in grim outcomes. Treatment involves endovascular management because of its success and tolerability. Here, the authors present a case of a complex dAVF initially recognized with an in utero neurosonogram and fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

OBSERVATIONS

A 21-week fetal ultrasound of a nonspecific brain mass was confirmed with fetal MRI as a 2.7-cm T1-hyperintense posterior fossa mass. Although a large flow void in the left middle cranial fossa was present, postnatal computed tomography angiography ultimately revealed a high-flow dAVF communicating with the left transverse sinus. In the early postnatal period, the patient developed hydrocephalus. After successful partial embolization, 6-week postangiogram brain MRI indicated disease progression with the development of a venous varix causing brainstem compression. Repeat embolization resulted in complete cessation of early venous drainage.

LESSONS

Neonatal dAVFs are exceedingly rare and result in futile outcomes; however, detection in utero is possible. Although definitive therapy must be performed postnatally, constant monitoring and early delivery can prevent complications. Attention to fetal ultrasound is essential, and knowledge of fetal MRI in the detection of these complex lesions can significantly improve outcomes.