Management of spinal dural arteriovenous malformations

M. K. Morgan, W. R. Marsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Dura-based spinal arteriovenous malformations (AVM's) are being diagnosed with increasing frequency. The optimal management of such lesions remains a topic of discussion. In an effort to guide this discussion, the authors review their experience with 17 cases of spinal dural AVM treated between January, 1984, and July, 1987. All patients presented with a slowly progressive paraparesis. The abnormalities were initially identified on myelography and confirmed by selective spinal angiography. Fourteen patients underwent endovascular embolization as a primary treatment, and a total of 18 embolization procedures were performed. After all but two of these, obliteration was confirmed at angiography. Patients' symptoms improved following 15 of these procedures but early improvement was not sustained in 10 instances; patients were unchanged after two procedures and worse after one. Follow-up angiography was performed at varying intervals after 15 of the 18 procedures, and recanalization of the previously obliterated spinal dural AVM was demonstrated in 13 instances. Eight patients ultimately underwent surgical treatment of their dura-based spinal AVM. No patient suffered deterioration of symptoms following operation. While embolization may allow angiographic obliteration of a spinal dural AVM and early clinical improvement, for the majority of patients these are not sustained. The average time to treatment failure was 5 months. Newer embolization materials will be necessary to effect permanent treatment in many of these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)832-836
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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