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Original research
Recurrence risk factors in detachable balloon embolization of traumatic direct carotid cavernous fistulas in 188 patients


Purpose To investigate the effects of detachable balloons in embolizing traumatic carotid cavernous fistulas (TCCFs) and the risk factors for recurrence after balloon embolization.

Materials and methods 188 patients with TCCFs were enrolled, and clinical, treatment, and follow-up data were analyzed for possible risk factors for recurrence after embolization.

Results Among 188 patients, 182 (96.8%) had successful balloon embolization; 6 patients failed. One balloon was used in 94 cases and multiple (two or more) balloons were used in 62 patients. 26 patients had occlusion of the parent artery whereas the remainder had parent artery preservation. Periprocedural complications occurred in 3 patients (1.6%) including cerebral embolism in 1 and abducent nerve paralysis in the other 2. Immediately following embolization, headache appeared in 92 patients and was relieved after 3–5 days with medications. A total of 165 patients (87.8%) had follow-up (6 months to 16 years, mean 5 years). 23 (13.9%) patients with internal carotid artery preservation had recurrence 1–33 days (mean 11 days) after the first embolization and were retreated to complete occlusion. Factors affecting recurrence were multiple balloons and residual fistula (p<0.05). Logistic regression confirmed the independent factors affecting recurrence were multiple balloons (≥2 balloons, OR 7.80, 95% CI 2.28 to 26.73; p=0.001) and residual fistula immediately following embolization (OR 10.46, 95% CI 2.99 to 36.5; p=0.000).

Conclusion The recurrence rate is high in the first month after embolization with detachable balloons, and multiple balloons and residual fistula are two independent factors affecting recurrence following balloon embolization.

  • traumatic carotid cavernous fistula
  • endovascular treatment
  • detachable balloons
  • risk factor
  • recurrence

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