The severity of clinical signs and symptoms of cranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) are well correlated with their pattern of venous drainage. Although the presence of cortical venous drainage can be considered a potential predictor of aggressive DAVF behaviors, such as intracranial hemorrhage or progressive neurological deficits due to venous congestion, accurate statistical analyses are currently not available. Using a decision tree data mining method, the authors aimed at clarifying the predictability of the future development of aggressive behaviors of DAVF and at identifying the main causative factors.
Of 266 DAVF patients, 89 were eligible for analysis. Under observational management, 51 patients presented with intracranial hemorrhage/infarction during the follow-up period.
The authors created a decision tree able to assess the risk for the development of aggressive DAVF behavior. Evaluated by 10-fold cross-validation, the decision tree's accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity were 85.28%, 88.33%, and 80.83%, respectively. The tree shows that the main factor in symptomatic patients was the presence of cortical venous drainage. In its absence, the lesion location determined the risk of a DAVF developing aggressive behavior.
Decision tree analysis accurately predicts the future development of aggressive DAVF behavior.