Intracranial arteriovenous fistula (AVF) is a rare disease, defined as anastomoses between cerebral or meningeal arteries and dural venous sinuses or cortical veins. With the development of new agents and devices, endovascular embolization has been considered safe and effective in a majority of cases. However, cases that require direct surgery do exist. Herein, the authors present 3 cases of intracranial AVFs that presented with hemorrhage and were treated with direct surgery, achieving complete obliteration and favorable outcomes.
Intracranial AVFs that present with hemorrhage require immediate and complete obliteration. When AVFs involve the dural sinus, transvenous embolization is usually the first choice of treatment. AVFs with single cortical venous drainage are best treated with interruption of the draining vein close to the fistula. Transarterial embolization can be a curative treatment if there are no branches supplying cranial nerves or an association with pial feeders. In cases in which endovascular treatment is technically challenging or has resulted in incomplete occlusion, surgical treatment is indicated.
Despite the recent rise in endovascular treatment, it is important to recognize situations in which such treatment is not suitable for intracranial AVFs. Direct surgery is effective in such cases to offer the best possible outcome.