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Journal of Neurology

, Volume 253, Issue 2, pp 159–162 | Cite as

Spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas—An underdiagnosed disease

A review of patients admitted to the spinal unit of a rehabilitation center
  • K. JellemaEmail author
  • C. C. Tijssen
  • M. Sluzewski
  • F. W. A. van Asbeck
  • P. J. Koudstaal
  • J. van Gijn
ORIGINAL COMMUNICATION

Abstract

Background

Spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (SDAVF) are rare and present with non–specific symptoms. The diagnosis is difficult and it is therefore conceivable that patients may not be recognized.

Methods

We reviewed the intake forms of patients who had been admitted to the spinal cord injury ward of a rehabilitation center in the period 1980–2004 to identify possible patients with an undiagnosed SDAVF. Clinical and radiological data were evaluated in selected cases.

Results

In 20 of 1429 newly admitted patients to the rehabilitation center (in 614 of whom trauma was not the cause), we restudied the CT myelograms, MRI scans or spinal angiograms and in two of these we found an undiagnosed SDAVF, and one cerebral dural arteriovenous fistula. One of these three was diagnosed with SDAVF 8 years after the admission to the rehabilitation center; the other two patients had never been diagnosed with SDAVF. In 9 patients a diagnosis of SDAVF had already been established by the time they were admitted to the spinal cord unit. In 20 other patients the admission diagnosis was a vascular lesion or 'progressive myelopathy' but appropriate radiological studies had been destroyed or had never been performed.

Conclusion

Our results suggest that spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas are an underdiagnosed condition.

Key words

spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas undiagnosed rehabilitation center 

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Copyright information

© Steinkopff-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Jellema
    • 5
    Email author
  • C. C. Tijssen
    • 5
  • M. Sluzewski
    • 1
  • F. W. A. van Asbeck
    • 2
  • P. J. Koudstaal
    • 3
  • J. van Gijn
    • 4
  1. 1.Dept. of NeuroradiologySt. Elisabeth HospitalTilburgThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Rehabilitation center 'De Hoogstraat'UtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Dept. of NeurologyErasmus Medical CenterRotterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Dept. of NeurologyUniversity Medical CenterUtrechtThe Netherlands
  5. 5.St. Elisabeth ZiekenhuisLC TilburgThe Netherlands

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