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J Neurosurg. 1998 Nov;89(5):755-61.

Dural arteriovenous shunts at the craniocervical junction.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Akita University School of Medicine, Japan.



A retrospective analysis was conducted of 10 patients (three women and seven men) who were treated for spinal dural arteriovenous shunts (AVSs) located at the craniocervical junction. This analysis was performed to evaluate the characteristics of this unusual location in contrast with those of the more common thoracic and lumbar AVSs.


Seven patients presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) and one with slowly progressive quadriparesis and dyspnea due to myelopathy. The other two cases were detected incidentally and included a transverse-sigmoid dural AVS and a cerebellar arteriovenous malformation. Angiographic studies revealed that the spinal dural AVSs at the C-1 and/or C-2 levels were fed by the dural branches of the radicular arteries that coursed from the vertebral artery and drained into the medullary veins. Venous drainage was caudally directed in the patient with myelopathy. In contrast, the shunt flow drained mainly into the intracranial venous system in patients with SAH. Furthermore, in four of these patients a varix was found on the draining vein. In all patients, the draining vein was interrupted surgically at the point at which this vessel entered the intradural space, using intraoperative digital subtraction angiography to monitor flow. The postoperative course was uneventful in all patients and no recurrence was confirmed on follow-up angiographic studies obtained in seven patients at 6 months after discharge.


If computerized tomography scanning shows SAH predominantly in the posterior fossa and no abnormalities are found on intracranial four-vessel angiographic study, proximal vertebral angiography should be performed to detect dural AVS at the craniocervical junction. The results of surgical intervention for this disease are quite satisfactory.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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