Endovascular and surgical approaches of ethmoidal dural fistulas: a multicenter experience and a literature review

D. Cannizzaro, S. Peschillo, M. Cenzato, G. Pero, M. C. Resta, G. Guidetti, N. Burdi, M. Piccirilli, A. Santoro, G. Lanzino

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Ethmoidal dural arteriovenous fistulae are rare vascular malformations associated with a high risk of bleeding. We present a multicenter contemporary series of patients treated with microsurgical and endovascular techniques. Sixteen consecutive patients were evaluated and/or treated between 2008 and 2015 at four centers with large experience in the endovascular and surgical treatment of cerebrovascular diseases. We analyzed demographic and clinical data, risk factors for dural fistulas, treatment type, peri- and post-operative morbidity, clinical and radiological outcomes, rates of occlusion, and long-term neurological outcome. Sixteen patients (81 % men, mean age of 58 years) with ethmoidal dural fistulas were included in the analysis. Seven patients had suffered an intracranial hemorrhage; the remaining presenting with neurological signs and symptoms or the fistula was an incidental finding. Three patients were managed conservatively. Among patients who underwent intervention (n = 13), 46.1 % were treated with endovascular therapy and 53.9 % were treated surgically. Complete angiographic obliteration was achieved in 100 % immediately after treatment and at last follow-up evaluation. All patients experienced a favorable neurological recovery (mRS 0–2) at the last follow-up visit (12 months). Ethmoidal dural AVFs are found mostly in male patients. Nowadays, due to wider use of non-invasive imaging, AVFs are discovered with increasing frequency in patients with minimal or no symptoms. Traditionally, these fistulas were considered “surgical.” However, in the modern endovascular era, selected patients can be effectively and safely treated with embolization although surgical ligation continues to have an important role in their management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-398
Number of pages8
JournalNeurosurgical Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018


  • Arteriovenous malformation
  • Endovascular treatment
  • Ethmoidal arteriovenous fistula
  • Surgical disconnection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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