A dural arteriovenous fistula (DAVF), also called a dural arteriovenous malformation (dural AVM), is an atypical connection between blood vessels in the dura. When necessary, surgical treatment for DAVF most commonly takes the form of endovascular embolization, microsurgical resection or stereotactic radiosurgery.
The blood vessels affected in a DAVF are arteries and veins. Ordinarily, capillaries take in high-pressure blood from arteries, deliver the blood’s oxygen to tissues and send the blood into the veins under much lower pressure. But in a DAVF, capillaries are absent, and the arteries and veins are connected directly. Without capillaries, high-pressure arterial blood rushes directly into veins, causing the venous system to experience greater than normal pressure.
Dural arteriovenous fistulas are complex lesions and should be managed at major centers with specialists highly trained in their treatment. At Columbia University Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, our neurosurgeons are experienced in evaluating DAVFs and in treating them surgically when necessary.
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