2016 Volume 56 Issue 1 Pages 27-32
Spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) are the most commonly encountered vascular malformation of the spinal cord and a treatable cause of progressive para- or tetraplegia. It is an elusive pathology that tends to be under-diagnosed, due to lack of awareness among clinicians, and affects males more commonly than females, typically between the fifth and eighth decades. Early diagnosis and treatment may significantly improve outcome and prevent permanent disability and even mortality. The purpose of our retrospective, single-center study was to determine the long-term clinical and radiographic outcome of patients who have received endovascular or surgical treatment of a spinal DAVF. In particular, during a 6-year period (2009–2014) 14 patients with a spinal DAVF were treated at our department either surgically (n = 4) or endovascularly (n = 10) with detachable coils and/or glue. There was no recurrence in the follow-up period (mean: 36 months, range 3–60 months) after complete occlusion with the endovascular treatment (n = 9; 90%), while only one patient (10%) had residual flow both post-treatment and at 3-month follow-up. All four surgically treated patients (100%) had no signs of residual DAVF on follow-up magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and/or angiography (mean follow-up period of 9 months). Since improvement or stabilization of symptoms may be seen even in patients with delayed diagnosis and substantial neurological deficits, either endovascular or surgical treatment is always justified.