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Open surgical ligation of a thoracic spinal epidural arteriovenous fistula causing thoracic myelopathy: illustrative case

Brandon R. W. Laing, Benjamin Best, John D. Nerva, and Aditya Vedantam

BACKGROUND

Spinal epidural arteriovenous fistulas (eAVFs) are rare spinal vascular malformations characterized by an abnormal connection from the paraspinal and paravertebral system to the epidural venous plexus. This contrasts with the more frequently seen spinal dural AVF, where the fistula is entirely intradural. Although endovascular repair is commonly performed for spinal eAVF, few cases require open surgical ligation.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present a case of a 74-year-old male with progressive thoracic myelopathy secondary to a spinal eAVF. Thoracic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed intramedullary T2 signal hyperintensity from T8 to T12. Spinal angiography revealed a primary arterial supply from the right T11 segmental artery and minor supply from the left T11 branches with drainage into the ventral epidural space. The patient underwent T11–12 laminectomy and complete right T11–12 facetectomy for ligation of the fistula with T11–L1 fusion. A postoperative spinal angiogram showed resolution of the fistula. Postoperatively, the patient’s myelopathy improved, and MRI showed a decrease in T2 cord intensity.

LESSONS

Spinal eAVFs are rare lesions that differ from the more commonly seen intradural dural AVF in that the abnormal connection is in the epidural space, and they are often associated with a dilated epidural venous pouch. Treatment involves endovascular, open surgical, or combined approaches.

Open access

Radiation-induced cavernous malformations in the spine: patient series

Stefan W. Koester, Lea Scherschinski, Visish M. Srinivasan, Katherine Karahalios, Kavelin Rumalla, Dimitri Benner, Joshua S. Catapano, Robert F. Spetzler, and Michael T. Lawton

BACKGROUND

Radiation-induced spinal cord cavernous malformations (RISCCMs) are a rare subset of central nervous system lesions and are more clinically aggressive than congenital cavernous malformations (CMs). The authors assessed the characteristics and outcomes of patients with RISCCM at a single institution and systematically reviewed the pertinent literature using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines.

OBSERVATIONS

Among the 146 spinal CMs at the authors’ institution, 3 RISCCMs were found. Symptom duration ranged from 0.1 to 8.5 months (mean [standard deviation], 3.2 [4.6] months), and latency ranged from 16 to 29 years (22.4 [9.6] years). All 3 RISCCMs were surgically treated with complete resection; 2 patients had stable outcomes, and 1 improved postoperatively. A review of 1240 articles revealed 20 patients with RISCCMs. Six of these patients were treated with resection, 13 were treated conservatively, and in 1 case, the treatment type was not stated. Five of the 6 patients treated surgically reported improvement postoperatively or at follow-up; 1 was stable, and none reported worsened outcomes.

LESSONS

RISCCMs are rare sequelae following radiation that inadvertently affect the spinal cord. Altogether, the frequency of stable and improved outcomes on follow-up suggests that resection could prevent further patient decline caused by symptoms of RISCCM. Therefore, surgical management should be considered primary therapy in patients presenting with RISCCMs.