Cerebral Dural Arteriovenous Fistulas and Aneurysms

Bradley A. Gross, M.D; Alexander E. Ropper, M.D; Rose Du, M.D., Ph.D.


Neurosurg Focus. 2012;32(5):e2 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Object The association of aneurysms and cerebral arteriovenous malformations is well established in the literature. Aside from a small number of case reports and small patient series, this association has not been well explored with cerebral dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs). This study was designed to elucidate this relationship in the authors' own patient cohort with DAVFs.
Methods Cerebral angiograms of 56 patients with 70 DAVFs were reviewed for the presence of cerebral aneurysms. Background patient demographics, mode of presentation, and DAVF and aneurysm angiographic characteristics were noted.
Results Twelve patients (21%) had aneurysms in addition to their DAVF. Three patients had multiple aneurysms. Of a total of 15 aneurysms, 5 (33%) occurred on DAVF feeding arteries and 10 (67%) were in remote locations. These patients more commonly presented with hemorrhage (58% vs 20% for those without aneurysms). Aneurysms were associated with DAVFs in any location (feeding artery or remote), but flow-related feeding artery aneurysms were more likely to be associated with Borden Type III DAVFs.
Conclusions Twenty-one percent of patients with cerebral DAVFs also had aneurysms in this patient cohort. It is thus prudent to perform 6-vessel digital subtraction angiography on patients with DAVFs to rule out potential feeding artery and remote aneurysms. This association may be explained by flow-related phenomena, the initial inciting event leading to DAVF formation, as well as a potential genetic component or predisposition to develop these lesions.


The association of cerebral AVMs and aneurysms is well established in the literature.[2,4,8] Recent natural history data have clearly suggested the significance of this association, as AVMs with associated aneurysms are more likely to have hemorrhagic presentation[9,11] as well as hemorrhage on follow-up.[2,4] In contrast, the frequency and significance of aneurysms associated with cerebral DAVFs is infrequently addressed, and is limited to case reports and small patient series.[3,5–7,10] In this report, we review our own patient cohort of cerebral DAVFs and evaluate the association of aneurysms with cerebral DAVFs.