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Noel F. Fanning, Robert A. Willinsky, and Karel G. terBrugge


Symptomatic local inflammation, aseptic meningitis, and hydrocephalus are reported in a group of patients treated with second generation/modified platinum coils. The purpose of this study was to define the frequency and determinants of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging findings of aneurysm wall enhancement, perianeurysmal edema, and hydrocephalus in a cohort of coil-embolized intradural cerebral aneurysms treated with bare platinum or modified platinum coils (Matrix or HydroCoils).


The authors retrospectively reviewed 359 Gd-enhanced MR follow-up studies of 181 treated aneurysms (125 ruptured) for mural enhancement. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to define mural enhancement associations with demographic, clinical, angiographic, treatment, and follow-up data. Embolization-related edema and hydrocephalus were defined in 95 MR imaging studies of 56 unruptured aneurysms.


Asymptomatic wall enhancement was observed in lesions treated with all coil types, occurring in 21 (18.6%) of 113 bare platinum coil–treated aneurysms. Independent associations were HydroCoil treatment (odds ratio [OR] 9.75, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.45–30.75) and increasing aneurysm size (OR 3.58, 95% CI 1.99–6.95). Five (8.9%) unruptured aneurysms had asymptomatic de novo edema, and 3 (5.3%) demonstrated hydrocephalus; all had been treated with HydroCoils. Hydrocephalus presentation was delayed (8–31 months) and symptomatic in 2 patients.


Asymptomatic aneurysm wall enhancement occurred in 18.6% of embolizations performed with bare platinum coils, and probably represents a normal healing response. Perimural edema and hydrocephalus were observed only in patients treated with HydroCoils, but have been reported in patients treated with other modified platinum coils. These symptoms appear to represent an exaggerated inflammatory response during aneurysm healing. Increased vigilance for delayed hydrocephalus is required. Judicious clinical use of modified platinum coils is warranted until results of randomized trials are published.

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J. Marc C. Van Dijk, Karel G. TerBrugge, Robert A. Willinsky, and M. Christopher Wallace

Object. Dural arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs) are a well-known pathoanatomical and clinical entity. Excluding bilateral involvement of the cavernous sinus, multiple dural AVFs are rare, with isolated reports in the literature. The additional risk associated with multiplicity is unknown, although it has been claimed that there is a greater risk of hemorrhage at presentation. In a group of 284 patients with dural AVFs consecutively treated at a single center, the occurrence of multiplicity is investigated and its risk factors for hemorrhage are identified.

Methods. Among the 284 patients with both cranial and spinal dural AVFs, 20 patients with multiple fistulas were found. Nineteen (8.1%) of 235 patients with cranial AVFs had multiple cranial fistulas, and one (2%) of 49 patients with spinal AVFs harbored two spinal fistulas. Twelve patients were found to have a lesion at two separate sites, seven patients had them at three locations, and one patient had four fistulas, each at a different site.

In the subgroup with multiple AVFs the percentage of hemorrhage at presentation was three times higher than in the entire group (p = 0.01). Cortical venous drainage in cranial fistulas was present in 84% of patients with multiple lesions compared with 46% of patients with solitary lesions (p < 0.005).

Conclusions. Multiple dural AVFs are not rare. In this group of 284 patients it was found in 8.1% of all patients with cranial dural AVFs. Multiplicity was associated with a higher percentage of cortical venous drainage, a pattern of drainage reportedly yielding a higher risk for hemorrhage.

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J. Marc C. van Dijk, Karel G. TerBrugge, Robert A. Willinsky, and M. Christopher Wallace

Object. A single-institution series of 119 consecutive patients with a dural arteriovenous fistula (DAVF) and cortical venous reflux was reviewed to assess the overall clinical outcome of multidisciplinary management after long-term follow up. The selective disconnection of the cortical venous reflux compared with the obliteration of the entire DAVF was evaluated.

Methods. Dural arteriovenous fistulas in patients in this series were diagnosed between 1984 and 2001, and treatment was instituted in 102 of them. The outcome of adequately treated patients was compared with that of a control group consisting of those with persistent cortical venous reflux and with data found in the literature. In cases of combined dural sinus drainage and cortical venous reflux, a novel treatment concept of selective disconnection of the cortical venous reflux that left the sinus drainage intact, and thus converted the aggressive DAVF into a benign lesion, was evaluated.

Endovascular treatment, which was instituted initially in 78 patients, resulted in an obliteration or selective disconnection in 26 (25.5%) of 102 cases. In 70 cases (68.6%) the DAVFs were surgically obliterated or disconnected. In six cases (5.9%), patients were left with persistent cortical venous reflux. No lasting complications were noted in this series. Follow-up angiography confirmed a durable result in 94 (97.9%) of 96 adequately treated cases, at a mean follow up of 27.6 months (range 1.4–138.3 months).

Selective disconnection was performed in 23 DAVFs with combined sinus drainage and cortical venous reflux. These patients' long-term outcomes were equal to those with obliterated DAVFs, and the complication rate was lower.

Conclusions. Considering the ominous course of DAVFs with patent cortical venous reflux, multidisciplinary treatment of these lesions is highly effective and the complication rate is low. Selective disconnection provides a valid treatment option of DAVFs with combined dural sinus drainage and cortical venous reflux, as has been shown in cranial DAVFs with direct cortical venous reflux.

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Amir R. Dehdashti, Leodante B. Da Costa, Karel G. terBrugge, Robert A. Willinsky, Michael Tymianski, and M. Christopher Wallace

Dural arteriovenous fistulas are the most common vascular malformations of the spinal cord. These benign vascular lesions are considered straightforward targets of surgical treatment and possibly endovascular embolization, but the outcome in these cases depends mainly on the extent of clinical dysfunction at the time of the diagnosis. A timely diagnosis is an equally important factor, with early treatment regardless of the type more likely to yield significant improvements in neurological functioning. The outcomes after surgical and endovascular treatment are similar if complete obliteration of the fistulous site is obtained. In the present study, the authors evaluated the current role of each modality in the management of these interesting lesions.

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Phillip J. Porter, Robert A. Willinsky, William Harper, and M. Christopher Wallace

✓ Despite recent studies of the natural history of cavernous malformations, there remains significant uncertainty concerning hemorrhage rates and the importance of lesion location. Controversy arises over varying definitions of “hemorrhage.” What is ultimately important to the patient is the occurrence of a neurological event, which may or may not be associated with radiologically documented hemorrhage, as well as the chance of recovery after such an event. The purpose of this study was to determine the rates of occurrence and sequelae of neurological events in 173 patients referred to our vascular malformation clinic with cavernous malformations.

All patient data were entered into a database. The mean age at presentation for the 173 patients was 37.5 years. The lesion location was deep (brainstem, cerebellar nuclei, thalamus, or basal ganglia) in 64 patients (37%) and superficial in 109 (63%). Thirty-one patients (18%) had multiple lesions. Disease presentation was due to seizures in 62 patients (36%), hemorrhage in 44 (25%), focal neurological deficit without documented hemorrhage in 35 (20%), headache alone in 11 (6%), and incidental findings in 21 patients (12%). The results obtained in the 110 patients eligible for follow-up review were used to derive information on the rates of hemorrhage and neurological events. An interval event (neurological deterioration) required both symptoms and signs. The total mean follow-up period was 46 months, the majority (65%) of which was prospective. There were 18 interval events in 427 patient-years of follow-up review, for an overall annual event rate of 4.2%. Location was the most important factor for predicting interval event occurrence, with significantly higher rates for deeply located (10.6%/year) compared with superficially located lesions (0%/year) (p = 0.0001). Of patients suffering a neurological event, only 37% had complete resolution of their deficits.

This largely prospective study indicates that deep cavernous malformations carry a worse prognosis than superficial lesions with respect to annual rates of neurological deterioration. The alarming rate of adverse clinical events occurring in patients with deep lesions is punctuated by the fact that less than one-half of them recover fully during long-term follow-up review.

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Roberto C. Heros

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Mark A. Davies, Karel TerBrugge, Robert Willinsky, Terry Coyne, Jamshid Saleh, and M. Christopher Wallace

✓ A number of classification schemes for intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs) have been published that claim to predict which lesions will present in a benign or aggressive fashion based on radiological anatomy. We have tested the validity of two proposed classification schemes for the first time in a large single-institution study.

A series of 102 intracranial dural AVFs in 98 patients assessed at a single institution was analyzed. All patients were classified according to two grading scales: the more descriptive schema of Cognard, et al. (Cognard) and that recently proposed by Borden, et al. (Borden). According to the Borden classification, 55 patients were Type I, 18 Type II, and 29 Type III. Using the Cognard classification, 40 patients were Type I, 15 Type IIA, eight Type IIB, 10 Type IIA+B, 13 Type III, 12 Type IV, and four Type V.

Intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) or nonhemorrhagic neurological deficit was considered an aggressive presenting clinical feature. A total of 16 (16%) of 102 intracranial dural AVFs presented with hemorrhage. Eleven of these hemorrhages (69%) occurred in either anterior cranial fossa or tentorial lesions. When analyzed according to the Borden classification, none (0%) of 55 Type I intracranial dural AVFs, two (11%) of 18 Type II, and 14 (48%) of 29 Type III intracranial dural AVFs presented with hemorrhage (p < 0.0001). After exclusion of visual or cranial nerve deficits that were clearly related to cavernous sinus intracranial dural AVFs, nonhemorrhagic neurological deficits were a feature of presentation in one (2%) of 55 Type I, five (28%) of 18 Type II, and nine (31%) of 29 Type III patients (p < 0.0001). When combined, an aggressive clinical presentation (ICH or nonhemorrhagic neurological deficit) was seen most commonly in intracranial dural AVFs located in the tentorium (11 (79%) of 14) and the anterior cranial fossa (three (75%) of four), but this simply reflected the number of higher grade lesions in these locations. Aggressive clinical presentation strongly correlated with Borden types: one (2%) of 55 Type I, seven (39%) of 18 Type II, and 23 (79%) of 29 Type III patients (p < 0.0001). A similar correlation with aggressive presentation was seen with the Cognard classification: none (0%) of 40 Type I, one (7%) of 15 Type IIA, three (38%) of eight Type IIB, four (40%) of 10 Type IIA+B, nine (69%) of 13 Type III, 10 (83%) of 12 Type IV, and four (100%) of four Type V (p < 0.0001).

No location is immune from harboring lesions capable of an aggressive presentation. Location itself only raises the index of suspicion for dangerous venous anatomy in some intracranial dural AVFs. The configuration of venous anatomy as reflected by both the Cognard and Borden classifications strongly predicts intracranial dural AVFs that will present with ICH or nonhemorrhagic neurological deficit.

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John S. Norris, Taufik A. Valiante, M. Christopher Wallace, Robert A. Willinsky, Walter J. Montanera, Karel G. terBrugge, and Michael Tymianski

Object. The authors sought to establish prospectively whether there is a simple relationship between radiological features of brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) hemodynamics and a patient's clinical presentation.

Methods. Thirty-one consecutive patients with AVMs underwent cerebral angiography at 3.8 frames/second during each standardized injection of contrast material. Contrast dilution curves were derived from the image sequences by using regions of interest (ROIs) traced on arteries feeding and veins draining the AVM nidus. Angiographic parameters were then analyzed in a blinded fashion. These parameters included the times required to reach the peak contrast density, the contrast decay time, and fractions thereof, in the ROI for each vessel. The authors determined whether these parameters, the arteriovenous transit time, and/or AVM size were related to patients' presentation with hemorrhage (11 patients), seizure (11 patients), or other clinical symptoms (nine patients). Statistically significant results were found only in analyses of arterial phase times to reach peak contrast density. Analyses of venous parameters, AVM size, and nidus transit time showed trends but no statistical significance. Arterial filling with contrast material was significantly slower in patients presenting with hemorrhage (mean 50%, 80%, and 100% of time to peak ± standard error [SE] = 1.19 ± 0.13, 1.97 ± 0.18, and 3.04 ± 0.34 seconds, respectively) compared with patients presenting with seizures (mean 50%, 80%, and 100% of time to peak ± SE = 0.80 ± 0.12, 1.32 ± 0.18, and 1.95 ± 0.29 seconds, respectively) according to analysis of variance (p < 0.05) and post-hoc t-tests (p < 0.05) for each parameter. Patients who presented with other symptoms had intermediate arterial filling times.

Conclusions. These simple hemodynamic parameters, which can be obtained without added risk to the patient, may help identify a subset of individuals in whom AVMs pose a higher risk of future hemorrhage and who may therefore warrant more expeditious treatment.

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Junichiro Satomi, J. MARC C. van Dijk, Karel G. Terbrugge, Robert A. Willinsky, and M. Christopher Wallace

Object. Cranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) can be classified into benign or aggressive, based on their patterns of venous drainage. A benign condition requires the absence of cortical venous drainage (CVD). The clinical and angiographic features of a consecutive single-center group of 117 patients harboring benign cranial DAVFs were evaluated over time to validate the behavior and appropriate management of these lesions.

Methods. At the initial assessment four patients were asymptomatic. Two infants presented with congestive heart failure. All other patients presented with other benign symptoms: chronic headache, bruit, or orbital phenomena. Observational management was instituted in 73 patients (62%). Intolerable bruit or ophthalmological sequelae were deemed indications for palliative embolization in 43 patients and surgical treatment in one patient. A median follow-up period of 27.9 months (range 1 month—17.5 years) was available in 112 patients (95.7%), among whom repeated angiography was performed in 50. Overall, observational and palliative management resulted in a benign and tolerable level of disease in 110 (98.2%) of 112 cases. In two cases managed conservatively CVD developed. In both of these cases the conversion from benign to aggressive DAVF was associated with spontaneous progressive thrombosis of venous outlets.

Conclusions. The disease course of a cranial DAVF without CVD is indeed benign, obviating the need for a cure of these lesions. Symptoms are well tolerated with either observation or palliative treatment. After a long-term follow-up review of 68 patients, this conservative management resulted in a benign and tolerable level of disease in 98.5% of cases. It is noteworthy, however, that a benign DAVF carries a 2% risk of developing CVD, mandating close clinical follow-up review in such cases and renewed radiological evaluation in response to any deterioration in the patient's condition.