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J Neurosurg. 2009 Jan;110(1):79-84. doi: 10.3171/2008.6.17601.

Management strategies for anterior cranial fossa (ethmoidal) dural arteriovenous fistulas with an emphasis on endovascular treatment.

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Division of Neuroradiology, Department of Medical Imaging, Toronto Western Hospital, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) of the anterior cranial fossa are rare lesions that can cause intracranial hemorrhage. Authors of previous reports mostly have described open surgical treatment for this fistula type. The authors' purpose in the present study was to describe their experience with anterior cranial fossa DAVFs, including their endovascular treatment.


All patients with anterior cranial fossa DAVFs diagnosed and treated in 3 separate institutions during the last 23 years were retrospectively identified. Clinical charts, imaging studies, and procedural notes were evaluated.


Twenty-four patients (22 males and 2 females), ranging in age from 3 to 77 years, harbored 24 DAVFs in the anterior cranial fossa. Eleven patients were primarily treated with surgical disconnection and 2 with radiosurgery. Eleven patients were treated endovascularly; 7 of these patients (63.6%) were cured. In 4 cases of failed embolization, final disconnection was achieved through surgery. In fact, surgery was effective in disconnecting the fistula in 100% of cases. All endovascular procedures consisted of transarterial injections of diluted glue (N-butyl cyanoacrylate [NBCA]), and there were no complications. Brain edema developed around the venous pouch and confusion was apparent after venous disconnection in 1 surgically treated patient. No patient suffered a hemorrhage during the follow-up period.


Disconnection of an anterior cranial fossa DAVF by using transarterial catheterization through the ophthalmic artery and subsequent injection of NBCA is possible with a reasonable success rate and low risk for complications. In patients with good vascular access this procedure could be the treatment of choice, to be followed by open surgery in cases of embolization failure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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