Comparison of surgical and endovascular approach in management of spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas: A single center experience of 27 patients

Sankalp Gokhale, Shariq A. Khan, David L. McDonagh, Gavin Britz

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26 Scopus citations


Background: Spinal dural arteriovenous fistula (SDAVF) is a rare spinal vascular malformation with an annual incidence of 5-10 cases per million. The data on efficacy, recurrence rates and complications of endovascular versus surgical treatment of SDAVF is limited. Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review of 27 adult patients with a diagnosis of SDAVF and who underwent treatment at Duke University Hospital between January 1, 1993 and December 31, 2012. We compared the outcome measures by Aminoff-Logue score (ALS) in patients who underwent treatment with endovascular embolization versus surgical ligation of fistula. We compared complication rates, recurrence rates as well as data on long-term follow up in these patients. Results: Out of 27 patients in the study, 10 patients underwent endovascular embolization (Onyx was used in 5 patients and NBCA in 5 patients) as the first line therapy. Seventeen patients underwent surgical ligation as initial therapeutic modality. Patients in both groups showed significant improvement in clinical status (ALS) after treatment. One patient in endovascular group developed spinal infarction due to accidental embolization of medullary artery. Three patients in embolization group had recurrence of fistula during the course of follow up requiring surgical ligation. Two patients in surgical group developed local wound infection. None of the patients in surgical group had recurrence of fistula during the course of follow up. Conclusions: Endovascular embolization and surgical ligation are effective treatment strategies for SDAVF. Our observations show that surgical ligation may offer permanent cure without any recurrence. Endovascular approach is associated with higher incidence of recurrence, especially with use of onyx. Copyright:

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7
JournalSurgical Neurology International
Issue numberJAN
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • Aminoff-logue scale
  • Embolization
  • Recurrence
  • Spinal dural AV fistula
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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