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Cranial dural arteriovenous fistula: transarterial Onyx embolization experience and technical nuances
  1. Yin C Hu,
  2. C Benjamin Newman,
  3. Shervin R Dashti,
  4. Felipe C Albuquerque,
  5. Cameron G McDougall
  1. Division of Neurological Surgery, Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr C G McDougall, Division of Neurological Surgery, Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, 2910 N Third Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85013, USA; cameron.mcdougall{at}


Introduction Traditional endovascular treatment of cranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) consists of a transarterial approach with n-butylcyanoacrylate (nBCA) or a transvenous approach with coil embolization. The advent of Onyx in the endovascular arsenal potentially offers a high probability of obliteration of these vascular lesions through a purely transarterial route.

Methods A retrospective review of the Barrow Neurological Institute endovascular database between October 2005 and November 2009 highlighted 50 patients with 63 cranial DAVFs that were treated with transarterial Onyx, with and without adjuvant embolysates, for a total of 76 embolization procedures. Hospital records, cerebral angiography and other diagnostic imaging and clinical visits were reviewed.

Results At a median follow-up of 5 months (range 0–25 months), complete angiographic cure was obtained in 41 patients with 50 (79%) DAVFs after transarterial embolization using Onyx combined with other embolysates. When Onyx was used as the sole embolic agent, 32 of 37 DAVFs (87%) in 29 (of 33) patients achieved angiographic cure. Subgroup analysis showed that by using the middle meningeal artery (MMA) as a conduit for primary Onyx embolization, angiographic cures were achieved in 27 of the 37 DAVFs (73%). Periprocedural complications occurred in six (7.9%) sessions in one patients (8%). Only one patient had a permanent complication (2%) with unimproved cranial nerve palsies.

Conclusion Transarterial Onyx embolization of cranial DAVFs, particularly using the MMA as a conduit, is a safe and effective curative therapy.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval This manuscript complies with our institutional review board policy; however, patient identifiers have been anonymized.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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