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Ronit Agid, Karel TerBrugge, Georges Rodesch, Tommy Andersson, and Michael Söderman

Object

Dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) of the anterior cranial fossa are rare lesions that can cause intracranial hemorrhage. Authors of previous reports mostly have described open surgical treatment for this fistula type. The authors' purpose in the present study was to describe their experience with anterior cranial fossa DAVFs, including their endovascular treatment.

Methods

All patients with anterior cranial fossa DAVFs diagnosed and treated in 3 separate institutions during the last 23 years were retrospectively identified. Clinical charts, imaging studies, and procedural notes were evaluated.

Results

Twenty-four patients (22 males and 2 females), ranging in age from 3 to 77 years, harbored 24 DAVFs in the anterior cranial fossa. Eleven patients were primarily treated with surgical disconnection and 2 with radiosurgery. Eleven patients were treated endovascularly; 7 of these patients (63.6%) were cured. In 4 cases of failed embolization, final disconnection was achieved through surgery. In fact, surgery was effective in disconnecting the fistula in 100% of cases. All endovascular procedures consisted of transarterial injections of diluted glue (N-butyl cyanoacrylate [NBCA]), and there were no complications. Brain edema developed around the venous pouch and confusion was apparent after venous disconnection in 1 surgically treated patient. No patient suffered a hemorrhage during the follow-up period.

Conclusions

Disconnection of an anterior cranial fossa DAVF by using transarterial catheterization through the ophthalmic artery and subsequent injection of NBCA is possible with a reasonable success rate and low risk for complications. In patients with good vascular access this procedure could be the treatment of choice, to be followed by open surgery in cases of embolization failure.

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Michael Söderman, Göran Edner, Kaj Ericson, Bengt Karlsson, Tiit Rähn, Elfar Ulfarsson, and Tommy Andersson

Object

The aim of this study was to assess the clinical efficacy of gamma knife surgery (GKS) in the treatment of dural arteriovenous shunts (DAVSs).

Methods

From a database of more than 1600 patients with intracranial arteriovenous shunts that had been treated with GKS, the authors retrospectively and prospectively identified 53 patients with 58 DAVSs from the period between 1978 and 2003. Four patients were lost to follow-up evaluation and were excluded from the series. Thus, this study is based on the remaining 49 patients with 52 DAVSs. Thirty-six of the shunts drained into the cortical venous system, either directly or indirectly, and 22 of these were associated with intracranial hemorrhage on patient presentation. The mean prescription radiation dose was 22 Gy (range 10–28 Gy).

All patients underwent a clinical follow-up examination. In 41 cases of DAVS a follow-up angiography study was performed. At the 2-year follow-up visit, 28 cases (68%) had angiographically proven obliteration of the shunt and in another 10 cases (24%) there was significant flow regression. Three shunts remained unchanged.

There was one immediate minor complication related to the administration of radiation. Furthermore, one patient had a radiation-induced complication 10 years after treatment, although she recovered completely. There was one posterior fossa bleed 2 months after radiosurgery; a hematoma, as well as a lesion, was evacuated, and the patient recovered uneventfully. A second patient had an asymptomatic occipital hemorrhage approximately 6 months postradiosurgery.

The clinical outcome after GKS was significantly better than that in patients with naturally progressing shunts (p < 0.01, chi-square test); figures on the latter have been reported previously.

Conclusions

Gamma knife surgery is an effective treatment for DAVSs, with a low risk of complications. Major disadvantages of this therapy include the time elapsed before obliteration and the possibility that not all shunts will be obliterated. Cortical venous drainage from a DAVS, a risk factor for intracranial hemorrhage, is therefore a relative contraindication. Consequently, GKS can be used in the treatment of both benign DAVSs with subjectively intolerable bruit and aggressive DAVSs not responsive to endovascular treatment or surgery.

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Jason Sheehan