Intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) are rare in children. This study sought to better characterize DAVF presentation, angioarchitecture, and treatment outcomes.
Children with intracranial DAVFs between 1986 and 2013 were retrospectively identified from the neurointerventional database at the authors' institution. Demographics, clinical presentation, lesion angioarchitecture, treatment approaches, angiographic outcomes, and clinical outcomes were assessed.
DAVFs constituted 5.7% (22/423) of pediatric intracranial arteriovenous shunting lesions. Twelve boys and 10 girls presented between 1 day and 18 years of age; boys presented at a median of 1.3 years and girls presented at a median of 4.9 years. Four of 8 patients ≤ 1 year of age presented with congestive heart failure compared with 0/14 patients > 1 year of age (p = 0.01). Five of 8 patients ≤ 1 year old presented with respiratory distress compared with 0/14 patients > 1 year old (p = 0.0021). Ten of 14 patients > 1 year old presented with focal neurological deficits compared with 0/8 patients ≤ 1 year old (p = 0.0017). At initial angiography, 16 patients harbored a single intracranial DAVF and 6 patients had 2–6 DAVFs. Eight patients (38%) experienced DAVF obliteration by the end of treatment. Good clinical outcome (modified Rankin Scale score 0–2) was documented in 77% of patients > 1 year old at presentation compared with 57% of patients ≤ 1 year old at presentation. Six patients (27%) died.
Young children with DAVFs presented predominantly with cardiopulmonary symptoms, while older children presented with focal neurological deficits. Compared with other pediatric vascular shunts, DAVFs had lower rates of angiographic obliteration and poorer clinical outcomes.