Dural Arteriovenous Fistulas
Unlike arterial-venous malformations (AVMs) and cavernous angiomas, which are usually congenital (arise during development), dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVF) are usually acquired. These lesions consist of abnormal, direct connections between arteries external to the brain, such as those that supply the scalp or face and nearby veins with blood. Patients with DAVF will often seek medical attention because they hear a “wooshing” sound that follows their heart beat.
Occasionally, DAVF can bleed, causing a stroke. DAVF may be suspected on MRI or CT scans, but an angiogram is usually required to confirm the diagnosis. Depending on the severity of the patient’s symptoms and the exact configuration of the DAVF on angiography, the lesion may or may not need to be treated. Similar to AVMs, DAVF may be treated with Onyx (endovascular glue embolization), microsurgical removal, stereotactic radiosurgery, or a combination. At Penn State Hershey Medical Center, our physicians have experience and training in all major forms of treatment for DAVF.