Challenges in Diagnosis and Management of Previously Embolized Spinal Dural Arteriovenous Fistulae

Robert J. Rothrock, Clayton Haldeman, Ashish Shah, Victor M. Lu, Efrat Saraf Lavi, Eric C. Peterson, Allan D. Levi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Given the growing prevalence of initial endovascular treatment for type 1 spinal dural arteriovenous fistulae (dAVF), there are an increasing number of patients presenting with progressive symptoms related to recurrent previously embolized spinal dAVF. This study's goal was to identify demographic, clinical, and radiographic variables among patients who have failed embolization of type I spinal dAVF. Methods: A retrospective review of 24 consecutive surgeries for type I spinal dAVF performed by the senior author (A.D.L.) identified 5 patients who underwent open surgery for failed embolization. These 5 cases were reviewed for location of fistula, time from embolization to recurrence, preoperative functional status, fistulous point encountered at surgery, and clinical outcome of the patient at 3-month follow-up. A representative example case is reviewed in detail. Results: The median age at time of recurrence was 63 years (range 51–73 years). The median timing of embolization to recurrence of neurologic symptoms was 5 months (range 1–54) and to surgery 7 months (range 2–60 months). The level of the spinal dAVF was most frequently at T12–L1 (n = 3). Spinal magnetic resonance arteriography led to localization of the spinal dAVF in 2 patients and spinal catheter angiogram in 3 cases. All patients had definitive radiographic cure of the dAVF at last clinical follow-up. Conclusions: The increased use of endovascular treatment of spinal dAVF has led to the treatment of refractory cases with a greater degree of surgical complexity. Open surgical ligation continues to provide the most definitive treatment outcomes for this complex spinal vascular entity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e710-e717
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Embolized spinal dAVF
  • Recurrent arteriovenous malformation
  • Recurrent spinal dAVF
  • SdAVF
  • Spinal dAVF
  • Spinal dural AVF
  • Spinal dural arteriovenous fistula

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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