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Armand Aymard, Y. Pierre Gobin, Jonathan E. Hodes, Siegfried Bien, Daniel Rüfenacht, Daniel Reizine, Bernard George and Jean J. Merland

✓ Twenty-one patients with aneurysms of the vertebrobasilar circulation underwent unilateral or bilateral endovascular occlusion of the vertebral artery. Six patients presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), 10 with mass effect, four with mass effect and SAH, and one with ischemic symptoms. Thirteen patients had good outcomes with complete clinical and angiographic cure. Six patients had partial thrombosis of their aneurysms. There was one death and one treatment failure. One patient suffered transient stroke. It is concluded that endovascular occlusion of the vertebral artery following test occlusion is a safe and effective treatment for proximal aneurysms of the vertebrobasilar circulation.

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Jonathan E. Hodes, Armand Aymard, Y. Pierre Gobin, Daniel Rüfenacht, Siegfried Bien, Daniel Reizine, André Gaston and Jean Jacques Merland

✓ Among 121 intracerebral aneurysms presenting at one institution between 1984 and 1989, 16 were treated by endovascular means. All 16 lesions were intradural and intracranial, and had failed either surgical or endovascular attempts at selective exclusion with parent vessel preservation. The lesions included four giant middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysms, one giant anterior communicating artery aneurysm, six giant posterior cerebral artery aneurysms, one posterior inferior cerebellar artery aneurysm, one giant mid-basilar artery aneurysm, two giant fusiform basilar artery aneurysms, and one dissecting vertebral artery aneurysm. One of the 16 patients failed an MCA test occlusion and was approached surgically after attempted endovascular selective occlusion. Treatment involved pretreatment evaluation of cerebral blood flow followed by a preliminary parent vessel test occlusion under neuroleptic analgesia with vigilant neurological monitoring. If the test occlusion was tolerated, it was immediately followed by permanent occlusion of the parent vessel with either detachable or nondetachable balloon or coils.

The follow-up period ranged from 1 to 8 years. Excellent outcomes were obtained in 12 cases with complete angiographic obliteration of the aneurysm and no new neurological deficits and/or improvement of the pre-embolization symptoms. Four patients died: two related to the procedure, one secondary to rupture of another untreated aneurysm, and the fourth from a postoperative MCA thrombosis after having failed endovascular test occlusion. The angiographic, clinical, and cerebral blood flow criteria for occlusion tolerance are discussed.

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Francis H. Tomlinson, David G. Piepgras, Douglas A. Nichols, Daniel A. Rüfenacht and Sue C. Kaste

✓ A neonate presented with anatomically discrete cerebral arteriovenous fistulae located in the right sylvian fissure and the cerebellar vermis that were initially detected by prenatal ultrasonography. Following delivery of the baby by Caesarean section, both malformations were treated by surgical obliteration. These intracranial vascular lesions were associated with cardiac anomalies and a periductal coarctation of the aorta, which was treated with a left subclavian rotational arterial pedicle repair. Follow-up examination of the infant at age 13 months demonstrated an excellent clinical result with normalization of the circulation. The pathophysiology of this syndrome is discussed and the literature reviewed.

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Michael D. Partington, Daniel A. Rüfenacht, W. Richard Marsh and David G. Piepgras

✓ The authors report a series of seven patients with myelopathy who were found to have spinal dural arteriovenous (AV) fistulas in which the nidus was located at some distance from the spinal cord. The nidus was intracranial in three cases and involved a sacral nerve root sheath in the other four, in each case, the arterialized draining vein led into the coronal plexus of medullary veins. A lack of normal draining radicular veins was noted in all cases. Magnetic resonance images were obtained in four patients and demonstrated spinal cord tissue changes only in the lower thoracic cord in three cases and in the cervical cord in one, all consistent with an ischemic process secondary to venous hypertension. Five patients were managed surgically by division of the draining vein, with improvement of the neurological deficit in all. One patient was treated by embolization alone and had stabilization of her deficit. The remaining patient in the series died of unrelated systemic disease before the spinal dural AV fistula could be treated.

These cases support the theory that venous hypertension is the dominant pathophysiological mechanism involved in spinal dural AV fistulas independent of their location. In patients with a suspected spinal dural AV fistula, lumbar and thoracic spinal angiography will reveal the site of the fistula in the majority of cases (88% in this series). In the remaining patients, the possibility of a remote fistula must be considered. The lack of normal venous drainage of the cord following injection in the artery of Adamkiewicz is the most reliable indicator of venous hypertension in the cord and can be helpful in making the decision to proceed with a search for a cranial or sacral arterial supply.

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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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Jacques Théron, Léopoldo Guimaraens, Oguzman Coskun, Thérésa Sola, Jean-Baptiste Martin and Daniel A. Rüfenacht

The authors report the complications that occurred in their experience with performing recanalization procedures in the internal carotid artery and present their treatment strategies. The complications can be classified into those that were periprocedural and those that were postprocedural. The former include complications related to the vascular-approach access site of and those associated with the dilation and stenting procedure. Other complications observed included embolic events, dissection, vascular spasm, bradycardia, inappropriate dilation, occlusion of the external carotid artery, and rare, unusual complications such as the occurrence of iatrogenic cavernous carotid fistula. Postprocedure complications occurred in the hours and days following the procedure in the form of embolic and occlusive events, and hypotension and bradycardia were seen as late complications in the months following the procedure. The authors discuss how such complications occur and provide suggestions on how to avoid them. The role of stent placement and the potential use of protective devices are explored. Overall, adequate use of currently available systems allows for safe application of endovascular treatment techniques that avoid altogether or treat these potential complications. A reduced incidence of complications related to the initial individual learning curve may be obtained with preclinical training, in which use of invitro models should be considered. Surgical standby no longer seems required; however, early posttreatment surveillance in intensive care unit is mandatory to avoid the remaining primary complications.

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Kenji Sugiu, Jean-Baptiste Martin, Beatrix Jean and Daniel A. Rüfenacht

✓ In this article the authors describe a rescue balloon procedure for coil implantation in three cases. In each patient, the coil seemed likely to unravel. The coils stretched when attempts were made to remove the partially implanted but trapped device. The inflation of a nondetachable microballoon in front of the aneurysm orifice allowed the surgeons to complete implantation of the coil and to avoid a more forceful and potentially harmful retrieval. This rescue balloon method may be useful for emergency situations, such as coil stretching with or without migration.

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Koji Tokunaga, Krisztina Barath, Jean-Baptiste Martin and Daniel A. Rüfenacht

✓ Transarterial particulate embolization is indicated for benign intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) that have no dangerous venous reflux. This treatment, however, does not cure these lesions. In this case report the authors describe a spontaneously occurring DAVF that was treated by implanting coils through a transarterial microcatheter into the affected venous channel. The channel was separate from the normal dural sinuses. The pathological architecture of the fistula and the usefulness of this approach are discussed.