High-grade dural arteriovenous fistula simulating a bilateral thalamic neoplasm

Patrick A. Sugrue, Michael C. Hurley, Bernard R. Bendok, Daniel L. Surdell, Numa Gottardi-Littell, Stephen F. Futterer, Kenji Muro, H. Hunt Batjer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Dural arteriovenous fistulae (dAVF) provide a diagnostic challenge and must be part of a broad differential in pursuit of a difficult diagnosis or unusual presentation. This case report demonstrates an initially misguided diagnosis of bilateral thalamic neoplasm and demonstrates the importance of continued pursuit until the correct diagnosis is obtained. Moreover, to our knowledge, this is the first reported case of a dAVF simulating a bilateral thalamic neoplasm. We present a patient with a provisional diagnosis of bilateral thalamic neoplasm based on clinical history and an advanced imaging workup including MR spectroscopy. Subsequent biopsy suggested venous congestion, hypoxia, and edema without neoplasia. Routine post-operative CT the following day revealed suggestion of dAVF due to the presence of residual contrast from prior unrelated abdominal CT. Cerebral angiography eventually revealed a Cognard grade IIb dAVF. Trans-arterial Onyx embolization resulted in a dramatic clinical and radiographic improvement. This case highlights an unusual presentation and challenging diagnosis of a dAVF and the importance of pursuing the correct diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)629-632
Number of pages4
JournalClinical Neurology and Neurosurgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Dementia
  • Dural arteriovenous fistula
  • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy
  • Neoplasm
  • Onyx
  • Stereotactic brain biopsy
  • Thalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'High-grade dural arteriovenous fistula simulating a bilateral thalamic neoplasm'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this