Conditions & Treatments
- A dural arteriovenous fistula (DAVF) is an abnormal connection between the arteries that normally supply the covering of the brain and veins.
- DAVFs usually develop in adulthood and can cause symptoms of pulsatile noise, headache, hemorrhage, stroke, or seizure.
- The treatment of DAVFs may include surgery, embolization or radiosurgery.
A dural arteriovenous fistula (DAVF) results when the blood vessels that normally supply the scalp and coverings of the brain (dura mater) have an abnormal direct connection to veins that carry blood away from the brain. This represents a short circuit that results in abnormally high flow within the brain veins. The two main types of DAVFs are differentiated by whether or not the short circuit results in backwards flow and congestion into veins that lead away from the brain tissue.
The presence or absence of this backflow into normal veins is determined by performing a test call an angiogram in which a tube called a catheter is inserted into the groin and threaded up through the artery in question. X-ray dye is injected through the catheter and X-ray images are recorded. If there is no backwards flow, treatment generally is not recommended because there is virtually no risk of stroke or bleeding into the brain. However, the risk of bleeding, stroke or death is high if backflow is detected. In these cases, treatment is highly recommended.
There are two chief ways of treating DAVFs. Surgery can be performed in which the surgeon makes an incision and disconnects the abnormal short circuit. Another method of treatment is embolization in which the doctor places a tiny catheter into the site of the short circuit and blocks it by injecting metal coils, liquid adhesives or tiny plastic particles.
NewsView all News
Emory Healthcare news from the Emory News Center
Photos: Emory Denim Day
April 25, 2017
Two Emory Healthcare nurses inducted as fellows into American College of Critical Care Medicine
April 25, 2017
New study uses freezing technique to target vagus nerve and obesity
April 24, 2017
Father, son share special bond; both receive cochlear implants
April 21, 2017
Photos: Ebola care team attends 'Facing Darkness' screening
April 20, 2017
Ready, set, go! for Heel to Heal Superhero 5K and Fundraiser
April 18, 2017
SIBR program shows teamwork in healthcare
April 17, 2017
Expert Q&A: The antibiotic resistance threat
April 12, 2017
Christy M. Norman joins Emory Healthcare as vice president of pharmacy services
April 07, 2017
Medical faculty recognized by their Emory peers on Doctors' Day
April 05, 2017