Multimodal Management of Carotid-Cavernous Fistulas

Samir Sur, Simon A. Menaker, Carlos Alvarez, Stephanie Chen, Sumedh S. Shah, Eric Peterson, Mohamed Elhammady, Robert M. Starke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Techniques for endovascular management of carotid-cavernous fistulas (CCFs) have evolved over the years. Current strategies include transarterial or transvenous approaches and direct puncture or exposure of the cavernous sinus. Rarely, complex CCFs may require multiple approaches or procedures. We describe our experience managing CCFs, reporting on outcomes and technical nuances. Methods: A retrospective review of institutional records was conducted to identify consecutive cases of CCF treated between July 2005 and July 2016. Pertinent technical details and outcomes were recorded. Results: In 44 patients, 51 procedures were performed. There were 13 direct CCFs and 31 indirect CCFs: 13 (30%) type A, 3 (7%) type B, 5 (11%) type C, and 23 (52%) type D. A transarterial approach was selected in 39% of cases (n = 20), resulting in a long-term successful embolization rate of 60% (n = 12). Transvenous methods via the inferior petrosal sinus or superior ophthalmic vein were used in 49% of cases (n = 25), resulting in a long-term obliteration rate of 88% (n = 22). Multimodal management was required in 5 patients, including 1 patient in whom a craniotomy was performed to facilitate coil embolization of the cavernous sinus under direct vision. A 7% complication rate (n = 3) was observed, with significant morbidity in 1 patient. Conclusions: CCFs are complex vascular lesions that require facility with various endovascular and surgical approaches. High-flow, direct-type fistulas may harbor a significant risk of recurrence after transarterial embolization. Partial or unsuccessful embolization may necessitate an open surgical approach to the superior ophthalmic vein or cavernous sinus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e796-e803
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Angiography
  • Carotid artery
  • Carotid-cavernous fistula
  • Cavernous sinus
  • Embolization
  • Endovascular
  • Multimodal management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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