OBJECTIVE: Embolization of cranial dural sinus arteriovenous fistulae with transvenous occlusion of the involved sinuses is an established strategy when the collateral brain drainage allows it. We aimed to investigate the frequency and types of complications after endovascular occlusion of the sigmoid sinus.
METHODS: From our database, we detected 52 endovascularly treated consecutive cases of cranial dural arteriovenous shunts involving the sigmoid sinus. The cases treated through the transvenous approach alone or combined with the transarterial one were analyzed retrospectively. Previously reported series and cases were reviewed and critically analyzed.
RESULTS: In 15 cases, a transvenous approach was used and in 4 combined a transvenous approach with a transarterial approach. Two patients (13.3%) both treated with the transvenous approach alone presented postoperatively with vertigo and hearing loss. In the first case, the sinus occlusion involved the whole sigmoid sinus, whereas in the second case the occlusion was restricted to a parallel channel posteriorly to the proximal segment of the sigmoid sinus. Magnetic resonance imaging and ear, nose, and throat investigations failed to elucidate the cause and pathomechanism of these symptoms. No other complications occurred.
CONCLUSIONS: Although the transvenous occlusion of the sigmoid sinus generally is a safe therapeutic option for the treatment of dural arteriovenous fistulae, inner ear dysfunction is still a possible complication. The combined analysis of the reported and our cases did not allow a plausible explanation of this complication and its pathomechanism remains obscure.