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Matthew J. Koch, Christopher J. Stapleton, Pankaj K. Agarwalla, Collin Torok, John H. Shin, Jean-Valery Coumans, Lawrence F. Borges, Christopher S. Ogilvy, James D. Rabinov, and Aman B. Patel


Vascular malformations of the spine represent rare clinical entities with profound neurological implications. Previously reported studies on management strategies for spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (sDAVFs) appeared before the advent of modern liquid embolic agents. Authors of the present study review their institutional experience with endovascularly and surgically treated sDAVFs.


The authors performed a retrospective, observational, single-center case series on sDAVFs treated with endovascular embolization, microsurgical occlusion, or both between 2004 and 2013. The mode, efficacy, and clinical effect of treatment were evaluated.


Forty-seven patients with spinal arteriovenous malformations were evaluated using spinal angiography, which demonstrated 34 Type I sDAVFs (thoracic 20, lumbar 12, and cervical 2). Twenty-nine of the patients (85%) were male, and the median patient age was 63.3 years. Twenty patients underwent primary endovascular embolization (16 Onyx, 4 N-butyl cyanoacrylate [NBCA]), and 14 underwent primary surgical clipping. At a mean follow-up of 36 weeks, according to angiography or MR angiography, 5 patients treated with endovascular embolization demonstrated persistent arteriovenous shunting, whereas none of the surgically treated patients showed lesion persistence (p = 0.0237). Thirty patients (88%) experienced some resolution of their presenting symptoms (embolization 17 [85%], surgery 13 [93%], p = 1.00).


Microsurgical occlusion remains the most definitive treatment modality for sDAVFs, though modern endovascular techniques remain a viable option for the initial treatment of anatomically amenable lesions. Treatment of these lesions usually results in some clinical improvement.