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Neurosurgery. 2003 Jul;53(1):40-9; discussion 49-50.

Embolization of spinal cord arteriovenous shunts: morphological and clinical follow-up and results--review of 69 consecutive cases.

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Service de Neuroradiologie Diagnostique et Thérapeutique, Hôpital Foch, Suresnes, France.



We sought to analyze the results of embolization in patients with intradural spinal cord arteriovenous shunts.


The clinical and radiological files of 69 of a population of 155 patients treated with embolization between 1981 and 1999 were reviewed retrospectively. The patients' clinical status was evaluated according to Karnofsky Performance Scale score. Twenty-one (14%) of 155 patients were treated surgically because they were thought to be poor candidates for embolization. Twenty-four (15%) of 155 patients were considered untreatable with surgery or embolization; in these patients, follow-up was proposed, but only 8 of them were followed appropriately and remained stable after the first consultation. Forty-one (26%) of 155 patients consulted our group, but no follow-up could be obtained. In 69 (45%) of 155 patients, comprising 20 children and 49 adults, endovascular treatment was performed with the patients under general anesthesia and without provocative tests, mainly with acrylic glue, in 99% of these patients.


The mean number of diagnostic and therapeutic sessions was 3.5 per patient, and the mean number of pure therapeutic sessions was 1.5 per patient. Follow-up ranged between 6 months and 18 years (mean, 5.6 yr). In 16% of patients, anatomic obliteration of spinal cord arteriovenous shunts was obtained. Embolization reduced more than 50% of the spinal cord arteriovenous shunts in 86% of cases. No recanalization was noted on follow-up angiograms. Good clinical outcomes were obtained in 83% of the patients: 15% of them were asymptomatic, 43% were improved, and 25% were stable. In 4% of patients, embolization failed to stabilize the disease. Transient deficits were seen after embolization in 14% of the patients, and permanent severe complications occurred in 4% of the patients (Karnofsky Performance Scale score <or=70). Mild worsening was seen in 9% of the patients (Karnofsky Performance Scale score, 80). No bleeding or rebleeding was seen after endovascular treatment was considered to have been completed.


This study proves that embolization with acrylic glue is a therapeutic option that compares favorably with surgery or embolization with other agents (particles, coils, or balloons). It offers stable long-term clinical results, despite not necessarily achieving total cure. Studies of larger series with longer follow-up are necessary to confirm these encouraging therapeutic data.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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