✓ Of the 88 patients evaluated for symptomatic dural arteriovenous (AV) fistula over the past 8 years, 16 had large or complicated lesions that could not be treated with standard transvascular approaches or in which such treatment had been unsuccessful. Eleven fistulas were located in the transverse sinus, two in the cavernous sinus, two in the straight sinus, and one in the falx-tentorial region near the vein of Galen. The patients were treated with a combination of endovascular and neurosurgical techniques. Fourteen patients underwent preoperative transarterial embolization; this procedure closed the fistula in one patient. In the remaining 15 patients, surgery was performed to provide access to the fistula for embolization from either the venous or the arterial side, or for excision of the fistula. Transvenous embolization completely obliterated the fistula in seven of nine patients; the fistulas were embolized incompletely through the feeding arteries in two patients; and complete surgical resection of the lesion was accomplished in four patients. Complications related to venous occlusion occurred in two patients and one patient suffered communicating hydrocephalus that was effectively treated by shunting. There were no deaths. The results suggest that combined endovascular and neurosurgical techniques are a safe and effective means for the treatment of selected complex dural AV fistulas.
Results of combined endovascular and neurosurgical treatment in 16 patients
Stanley L. Barnwell, Van V. Halbach, Randall T. Higashida, Grant Hieshima and Charles B. Wilson
Stanley L. Barnwell, Van V. Halbach, Christopher F. Dowd, Randall T. Higashida, Grant B. Hieshima and Charles B. Wilson
✓ Dural arteriovenous (AV) fistulas are thought to be acquired lesions that form in an area of thrombosis within a sinus. If the sinus remains completely thrombosed, venous drainage from these lesions occurs through cortical veins, or, if the sinus is open, venous drainage is usually into the involved sinus. Among 105 patients with dural A V fistulas evaluated over the the past 5 years, seven had a unique type of dural AV fistula in the superior sagittal, transverse, or straight sinus in which only cortical venous drainage occurred despite a patent involved sinus; the fistula was located within the wall of a patent dural sinus, but outflow was not into the involved sinus. This variant of dural AV fistulas puts the patient at serious risk for hemorrhage or neurological dysfunction caused by venous hypertension. Three patients presented with hemorrhage, one with progressive neurological dysfunction, one with seizures, and two with bruit and headaches. A combination of surgical and endovascular techniques was used to close the fistula while preserving flow through the sinus.
Randall T. Higashida, Van V. Halbach, Christopher Dowd, Stanley L. Barnwell, Bill Dormandy, Julie Bell and Grant B. Hieshima
✓ Interventional neurovascular techniques for treating patients with intracranial aneurysms are now being performed in selected cases. In certain anatomical locations that are difficult to reach surgically, such as the cavernous portion of the internal carotid artery (ICA), this technique may be especially useful. The procedure is performed from a transfemoral approach, using local anesthesia, thus permitting continuous neurological monitoring.
Between 1981 and 1989, 87 patients diagnosed as having an intracavernous aneurysm were treated with endovascular detachable balloon embolization techniques. The patients ranged in age from 11 to 84 years. The presenting symptom was mass effect in 69 cases (79.3%), rupture of a preexisting aneurysm resulting in a carotid-cavernous sinus fistula in eight cases (9.2%), trauma resulting in a cavernous pseudoaneurysm in seven cases (8.0%), and hemorrhage in three cases (3.4%). Therapeutic occlusion of the ICA across or just proximal to the aneurysm neck was performed in 68 patients (78.2%). Since 1984, with the development of a permanent solidifying agent (2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) to fill the balloon, it is now feasible in some cases to guide the balloon directly into the aneurysm and preserve the parent artery; this was achieved in 19 cases (22%). Follow-up examination has demonstrated complete thrombosis with partial or total alleviation of symptoms in all patients with therapeutic occlusion of the parent vessel. Of the 19 patients with preservation of the parent artery, follow-up studies have demonstrated total exclusion in 12 cases (63%) and subtotal occlusion of greater than 85% in seven cases (37%), with clinical improvement in all cases. Complications from therapy included transient cerebral ischemia during or after therapy requiring volume expansion in seven cases, embolic symptoms requiring antiplatelet medication in two cases, and stroke in four cases; there were no deaths. Detachable balloon embolization therapy, particularly for large and giant symptomatic aneurysms of the cavernous ICA, can be an effective mode of treatment.
Van V. Halbach, Randall T. Higashida, Christopher F. Dowd, Stanley L. Barnwell, Kenneth W. Fraser, Tony P. Smith, George P. Teitelbaum and Grant B. Hieshima
✓ Endovascular obliteration of intracranial aneurysms with preservation of the parent artery (endosaccular occlusion) has been advocated for patients who fail or are excluded from surgical clipping and cannot undergo Hunterian ligation therapy. To clarify the effect that endosaccular occlusion has on the presenting neurological signs, 26 patients with aneurysms and symptoms related to mass effect who underwent this therapy were followed for a mean of 60 months. Only patients with objective neurological deficits who had not suffered a hemorrhage were included in this series. Response to therapy was classified into one of three groups: “resolved,” if the patient had complete resolution of presenting signs; “improved,” if significant and sustained improvement was recorded in the neurological examinations, and “unchanged,” if no change was observed.
Thirteen patients (50%) were classified as resolved, 11 (42.3%) as improved, and two (7.7%) as unchanged. A comparison of patients classified as resolved with those who were improved revealed that the former group had less wall calcification (30% vs. 60%) and a shorter duration of symptoms. Patients with neurological sign resolution (62%) were more likely to have totally occluded aneurysms on late follow-up arteriograms than those who had improvement (28%) or were unchanged (0%). This study suggests that endosaccular embolization therapy can improve or alleviate presenting neurological signs unrelated to hemorrhage or distal embolization in the majority of cases.