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  • Author or Editor: Thoralf M. Sundt Jr x
  • By Author: Nichols, Douglas A. x
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Francis H. Tomlinson, Daniel A. Rüfenacht, Thoralf M. Sundt Jr., Douglas A. Nichols and Nicolee C. Fode

✓ Arteriovenous (AV) fistulas of cerebral and spinal arteries are characterized angiographically by an immediate AV transition without a capillary bed or “nidus” as occurs in AV malformations (AVM's). The clinical presentation, morphology, radiology, and treatment of 12 patients with cerebral AV fistulas and of 12 patients with spinal AV fistulas are reviewed. In the patients with cerebral lesions, headache and seizure disorders were the most common presentations followed by subarachnoid hemorrhage, cardiac failure, progressive neurological dysfunction, and incidental detection on prenatal ultrasound study. In patients with spinal AV fistulas, weakness and sensory disturbance in the lower extremities were the most frequent clinical presentations followed by back pain, disturbances of micturition, and grand mal seizure. The etiology of the symptom complex produced by AV fistulas in each of these locations differed, with venous hypertension being important in spinal cord lesions.

Of the patients with cerebral lesions, nine had a single AV fistula, one had two fistulas, and two had multiple fistulas. An AVM was observed in five patients with fistulas (two large, three small). Nine patients exhibited extramedullary AV fistulas of the spine, of whom eight had a single fistula and one had three fistulas; three patients had intramedullary spinal AV fistulas. An arterial aneurysm was found in association with two fistulas, one cerebral and one spinal. Venous ectasias or varices, frequently exhibiting mural calcification, were observed to be prominent in all AV fistulas involving cerebral arteries and in two involving spinal arteries. The location and size of the venous complexes reflected the diameter of the fistula. In addition to conventional imaging techniques (cerebral angiography, computerized tomography, and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging), MR angiography was a helpful adjunct in the evaluation of fistulas. Treatment strategies employed for AV fistulas in both locations included open surgical and endovascular procedures, frequently used in combination. A satisfactory outcome was observed in all patients.

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Nayef R. F. Al-Rodhan, Thoralf M. Sundt Jr., David G. Piepgras, Douglas A. Nichols, Daniel Rßfenacht and Lorna N. Stevens

✓ An alternative theory is proposed to explain the brain edema and hemorrhage that may occur after resection of high-flow intracerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVM's). This theory, termed “occlusive hyperemia,” is based on a retrospective analysis of operative dictations along with postoperative imaging studies (191 angiograms and 273 computerized tomography scans) in 295 cases of intracerebral AVM's operated on at the Mayo Clinic between 1970 and 1990. In this series, 34 cases (12%) of postoperative deterioration were documented, of which 15 were due to incomplete resection of the AVM. Of the remaining 19 cases, six had brain edema alone and 13 had hemorrhage with edema, despite complete excision of the AVM. In these 19 cases, the AVM's were greater than 6 cm in diameter in 10 patients, between 3 and 6 cm in six, and less than 3 cm in three. Obstruction of the venous drainage system was observed in 14 (74%) of the 19 cases. Ten of these 14 were due to obstruction of the primary venous drainage of the brain parenchyma immediately surrounding the lesions, while four were due to obstruction of other venous structures. In no case was a rapid circulation identified on postoperative angiograms. The flow pattern was slow or stagnant in former AVM feeders and their parenchymal branches. It is proposed that postoperative intracranial hemorrhage and/or brain edema in AVM patients may be due to: 1) obstruction of the venous outflow system of brain adjacent to the AVM, with subsequent passive hyperemia and engorgement; and 2) stagnant arterial flow in former AVM feeders and their parenchymal branches, with subsequent worsening of the existing hypoperfusion, ischemia, and hemorrhage or edema into these areas. Supportive hemodynamic evidence for this theory was derived from the literature.