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  • Author or Editor: Christopher F. Dowd x
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Parham Moftakhar, Daniel L. Cooke, Heather J. Fullerton, Nerissa U. Ko, Matthew R. Amans, Jared A. Narvid, Christopher F. Dowd, Randall T. Higashida, Van V. Halbach and Steven W. Hetts


Although the development and prevalence of cerebral vasospasm (CV) has been extensively investigated in adults, little data exist on the development of CV in children. The authors hypothesized that even though children have highly vasoreactive arteries, because of a robust cerebral collateral blood flow, they rarely develop symptomatic CV.


The authors retrospectively reviewed their university hospital's neurointerventional database for children (that is, patients ≤ 18 years) who were examined or treated for aneurysmal or traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) during the period 1990–2013. Images from digital subtraction angiography (DSA) were analyzed for the extent of CV and collateralization of the cerebral circulation. Results from transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasonography were correlated with those from DSA. Cerebral vasospasm on TCD ultrasonography was defined according to criteria developed for adults. Clinical outcomes of CV were assessed with the pediatric modified Rankin Scale (mRS).


Among 37 children (21 boys and 16 girls ranging in age from 8 months to 18 years) showing symptoms of an aneurysmal SAH (comprising 32 aneurysms and 5 traumatic pseudoaneurysms), 17 (46%) had CV confirmed by DSA; CV was mild in 21% of these children, moderate in 50%, and severe in 29%. Only 3 children exhibited symptomatic CV, all of whom had poor collateralization of cerebral vessels. Among the 14 asymptomatic children, 10 (71%) showed some degree of vessel collateralization. Among 16 children for whom TCD data were available that could be correlated with the DSA findings, 13 (81%) had CV according to TCD criteria. The sensitivity and specificity of TCD ultrasonography for diagnosing CV were 95% and 59%, respectively. The time to CV onset detected by TCD ultrasonography was 5 ± 3 days (range 2–10 days). Twenty-five (68%) of the children had good long-term outcomes (that is, had mRS scores of 0–2).


Children have a relatively high incidence of angiographically detectable, moderate-to-severe CV. Children rarely develop symptomatic CV and have good long-term outcomes, perhaps due to robust cerebral collateral blood flow. Criteria developed for detecting CV with TCD ultrasonography in adults overestimate the prevalence of CV in children. Larger studies are needed to define TCD ultrasonography–based CV criteria for children.

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Steven W. Hetts, Parham Moftakhar, Neil Maluste, Heather J. Fullerton, Daniel L. Cooke, Matthew R. Amans, Christopher F. Dowd, Randall T. Higashida and Van V. Halbach


Intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) are rare in children. This study sought to better characterize DAVF presentation, angioarchitecture, and treatment outcomes.


Children with intracranial DAVFs between 1986 and 2013 were retrospectively identified from the neurointerventional database at the authors' institution. Demographics, clinical presentation, lesion angioarchitecture, treatment approaches, angiographic outcomes, and clinical outcomes were assessed.


DAVFs constituted 5.7% (22/423) of pediatric intracranial arteriovenous shunting lesions. Twelve boys and 10 girls presented between 1 day and 18 years of age; boys presented at a median of 1.3 years and girls presented at a median of 4.9 years. Four of 8 patients ≤ 1 year of age presented with congestive heart failure compared with 0/14 patients > 1 year of age (p = 0.01). Five of 8 patients ≤ 1 year old presented with respiratory distress compared with 0/14 patients > 1 year old (p = 0.0021). Ten of 14 patients > 1 year old presented with focal neurological deficits compared with 0/8 patients ≤ 1 year old (p = 0.0017). At initial angiography, 16 patients harbored a single intracranial DAVF and 6 patients had 2–6 DAVFs. Eight patients (38%) experienced DAVF obliteration by the end of treatment. Good clinical outcome (modified Rankin Scale score 0–2) was documented in 77% of patients > 1 year old at presentation compared with 57% of patients ≤ 1 year old at presentation. Six patients (27%) died.


Young children with DAVFs presented predominantly with cardiopulmonary symptoms, while older children presented with focal neurological deficits. Compared with other pediatric vascular shunts, DAVFs had lower rates of angiographic obliteration and poorer clinical outcomes.

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Steven W. Hetts, Parham Moftakhar, Joey D. English, Christopher F. Dowd, Randall T. Higashida, Michael T. Lawton, Vanja C. Douglas and Van V. Halbach


Spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (SDAVFs) cause myelopathy through arterialization of the perimedullary venous plexus and venous congestion of the spinal cord. The authors hypothesized that the craniocaudal extent of engorgement of intrathecal draining veins between the fistula site and the point of drainage out of the thecal sac correlates with the degree of myelopathy.


A retrospective review of the authors' institution's radiology databases identified 31 patients with SDAVFs who had undergone digital subtraction angiography (DSA) and MRI examinations of the spine. The authors counted the number of vertebral body levels of spinal cord enhancement and intrathecal vessel enhancement on T1-weighted postcontrast MRI studies. They also counted the number of levels of cord hyperintensity and intrathecal flow voids on T2-weighted MRI studies. On DSA, the authors identified the number of vertebral body levels of dilated intrathecal draining veins and outflow points from intrathecal veins to epidural veins. Functional status of the patients at the time of diagnosis was assessed using the Aminoff-Logue scale (ALS).


Enlargement of the intrathecal draining veins averaged 10 ± 7.7 spinal levels on DSA. Patients with enlarged draining veins extending 10 or more spinal levels on DSA had worse ALS scores (mean gait 3.4, mean micturition 1.5) than patients with draining veins extending fewer than 10 levels (mean gait 1.8, mean micturition 0.6; p = 0.009 and 0.02, respectively). The number of vertebral body levels of enlarged draining veins correlated with the ALS score (gait r = 0.42, p = 0.009; and micturition r = 0.55, p = 0.0006). More extensive enlarged draining veins were associated with more spinal cord T2 hyperintensity, T2 intrathecal flow voids, and T1 vessel enhancement but not cord enhancement.


The craniocaudal extent of enlarged intrathecal veins draining SDAVF correlates with patient functional status, providing further insight into the pathophysiology of venous hypertensive myelopathy.