Many small series and technical reports chronicle the evolution of endovascular techniques for cranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) over the past 3 decades, but reports of large patient series are lacking. The authors provide a thorough analysis of clinical and angiographic outcomes across a large patient cohort.
The authors reviewed their endovascular database from January 1996 to September 2015 to identify patients harboring cranial dAVFs who were treated initially with endovascular approaches. They extracted demographic, presentation, angiographic, detailed treatment, and long-term follow-up data, and they evaluated natural history, initial angiographic occlusion, complications, recurrence, and symptomatic resolution rates.
Across a cohort of 251 patients with 260 distinct dAVFs, the overall initial angiographic occlusion rate was 70%; recurrence or occult residual lesions were seen on subsequent angiography in 3% of cases. The overall complication rate was 8%, with permanent neurological complications occurring in 3% of cases. Among 102 patients with dAVFs without cortical venous reflux, rates of resolution/improvement of pulsatile tinnitus and ocular symptoms were 79% and 78%, respectively. Following the introduction of Onyx during the latter half of the study period, the number of treated dAVFs doubled; the initial angiographic occlusion rate increased significantly from 60% before the use of Onyx to 76% after (p = 0.01). In addition, during the latter period compared with the pre-Onyx period, the rate of dAVFs obliterated via a transarterial-only approach was significantly greater (43% vs 23%, p = 0.002), as was the number of dAVFs obliterated via a single arterial pedicle (29% vs 11%, p = 0.002).
Overall, in the Onyx era, the rate of initial angiographic occlusion was approximately 80%, as was the rate of meaningful clinical improvement in tinnitus and/or ocular symptoms after initial endovascular treatment of cranial dAVFs.