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Pial Artery Supply as an Anatomic Risk Factor for Ischemic Stroke in the Treatment of Intracranial Dural Arteriovenous Fistulas.


Background and purpose

Although intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas are principally supplied by dural branches of the external carotid, internal carotid, and vertebral arteries, they can also be fed by pial arteries that supply the brain. We sought to determine the frequency of neurologic deficits following treatment of intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas with and without pial artery supply.

Materials and methods

One hundred twenty-two consecutive patients who underwent treatment for intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas at our hospital from 2008 to 2015 were retrospectively reviewed. Patient data were examined for posttreatment neurologic deficits; patients with such deficits were evaluated for imaging evidence of cerebral infarction. Data were analyzed with multivariable logistic regression.


Of 122 treated patients, 29 (23.8%) had dural arteriovenous fistulas with pial artery supply and 93 (76.2%) had dural arteriovenous fistulas without pial arterial supply. Of patients with pial artery supply, 4 (13.8%) had posttreatment neurologic deficits, compared with 2 patients (2.2%) without pial artery supply (P = .04). Imaging confirmed that 3 patients with pial artery supply (10.3%) had cerebral infarcts, compared with only 1 patient without pial artery supply (1.1%, P = .03). Increasing patient age was also positively associated with pial supply and treatment-related complications.


Patients with dural arteriovenous fistulas supplied by the pial arteries were more likely to experience posttreatment complications, including ischemic strokes, than patients with no pial artery supply. The approach to dural arteriovenous fistula treatment should be made on a case-by-case basis so that the risk of complications can be minimized.

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