The purpose of the present study was to compare the treatment success rates of primary neurosurgical and endovascular treatments in patients with spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs).
Data from 199 consecutive patients with thoracic and lumbosacral spinal dAVFs were collected from 18 centers. Angiographic and clinical findings, the rate of initial treatment failure or recurrence by procedures, risk factors for treatment failure, complications, and neurological outcomes were statistically analyzed.
Spinal dAVFs were frequently detected in the thoracic region (81%), fed by a single feeder (86%), and shunted into an intradural vein via the dura mater. The fistulous connection between the feeder(s) and intradural vein was located at a single spinal level in 195 patients (98%) and at 2 independent levels in 4 patients (2%). Among the neurosurgical (n = 145), and endovascular (n = 50) treatment groups of single dAVFs (n = 195), the rate of initial treatment failure or recurrence was significantly higher in the index endovascular treatment group (0.68% and 36%). A multivariate analysis identified endovascular treatment as an independent risk factor with significantly higher odds of initial treatment failure or recurrence (OR 69; 95% CI 8.7–546). The rate of complications did not significantly differ between the two treatment groups (4.1% for neurosurgical vs 4.0% for endovascular treatment). With a median follow-up of 26 months, improvements of ≥ 1 point in the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score and Aminoff-Logue gait and Aminoff-Logue micturition grades were observed in 111 (56%), 121 (61%), and 79 (40%) patients, respectively. Independent risk factors for lack of improvement in the Aminoff-Logue gait grades were multiple treatments due to initial treatment failure or recurrence (OR 3.1) and symptom duration (OR 1.02).
Based on data obtained from the largest and most recently assessed multicenter cohort, the present study shows that primary neurosurgery is superior to endovascular treatment for the complete obliteration of spinal dAVFs by a single procedure.