Clinical and Imaging Characteristics of Spinal Dural Arteriovenous Fistulas and Spinal Epidural Arteriovenous Fistulas

Waleed Brinjikji, Elisa Colombo, Harry J. Cloft, Giuseppe Lanzino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Spinal epidural arteriovenous fistulas (SEDAVFs) are an increasingly recognized form of spinal vascular malformation and are distinct from spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (SDAVFs). Differentiating between these 2 entities is important as operative strategies often differ based on angioarchitecture. OBJECTIVE: To compare demographic, clinical, anatomic, and imaging findings of SDAVFs and SEDAVFs. METHODS: Consecutive patients diagnosed and/or treated for SDAVF or SEDAVF at our institution between January 2000 and November 2018 were included. Data were collected on demographics, clinical presentation, and imaging findings. All cross-sectional and angiographic imaging were reviewed. To compare continuous variables, t-test was used Chi-squared was used for categorical variables. RESULTS: A total of 169 patients were included. In total 47 patients had SEDAVFs and 122 patients had SDVAFs. Clinical presentation and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) imaging findings were similar between the 2 groups. SEDAVF patients were significantly more likely to have an epidural venous pouch on gadolinium bolus MR angiography (MRA) (0.0% vs 92.1%, P <. 0001). SEDAVFs were more commonly located in the lumbar and sacral spine than SDAVFs (85.1% vs 34.4%, P <. 0001). When in the lumbar spine, SEDAVFs unlike SDAVFs were more likely to involve the most caudal segments (L4 and L5, P =. 02). CONCLUSION: SEDAVF share clinical and radiological findings similar to SDAVFS, including high T2 cord signal, cord enhancement, and perimedullary flow voids on conventional MRI. However, they have a characteristic appearance on spinal MRA and DSA with a pouch of epidural contrast. SEDAVFs are more commonly located in the lumbosacral spine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)666-673
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • Catheter angiography
  • Epidural space
  • Epidural venous plexus
  • Magnetic resonance
  • Spinal arteriovenous shunts
  • Spinal epidural arteriovenous fistulas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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