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Spinal dural arteriovenous fistula (DAVF) is an uncommon condition that can be difficult to diagnose. This often results in misdiagnosis and treatment delay. Although conventional MRI plays an important role in the initial screening for the disease, the typical MRI findings may be absent. In this article, the authors present a series of 4 cases involving patients with angiographically proven spinal DAVFs who demonstrated cord T2 prolongation on conventional MRI but without abnormal subarachnoid flow voids or enhancement. These cases suggest that spinal DAVF cannot be excluded in symptomatic patients with cord edema based on conventional MRI findings alone. Dynamic Gd-enhanced MR angiography (MRA) was successful in demonstrating abnormal spinal vasculature in all 4 cases. This limited experience provides support for the role of spinal MRA in patients with abnormal cord signal and symptoms suggestive of DAVF even when typical MRI findings of a DAVF are absent.


Timothy R Miller, Clifford J Eskey, Alexander C Mamourian. Absence of abnormal vessels in the subarachnoid space on conventional magnetic resonance imaging in patients with spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas. Neurosurgical focus. 2012 May;32(5):E15

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PMID: 22537124

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