Venous drainage patterns in carotid cavernous fistulas
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Purpose. The carotid-cavernous fistula (CCF) is an abnormal arteriovenous communication and its drainage pathways may affect the clinic presentation and change treatment approach. We evaluated drainage patterns of CCFs by digital subtraction angiography (DSA) and categorized drainage pathways according to their types and etiology. Materials and Methods. Venous drainage patterns of 13 CCFs from 10 subjects were studied and categorized as anterior, posterior, superior, inferior, and contralateral on DSA. Drainage patterns were correlated to types and etiology of CCFs. Diagnosis of CCFs was first made by noninvasive imaging techniques. Results. On DSA, traumatic CCFs were usually high flow, direct type while spontaneous CCFs were usually slow flow, indirect type. Bilaterality and mixed types were observed among the indirect spontaneous CCFs. In all CCFs, anterior and inferior drainages were the most common. Contrary to the literature, posterior and superior drainages were noted only in high flow and long standing direct fistulas. Contralateral drainage was not observed in all, supporting plausible compartmentalization of cavernous sinuses. Conclusion. Types, etiology, and duration of the CCFs may affect their drainage patterns. DSA is valuable for categorization of CCFs and verification of drainage patterns. Drainage pathways may affect the clinic presentation and also change treatment approach.