Traumatic arteriovenous fistula of the posterior inferior cerebellar artery treated with endovascular coil embolization: Case report

James K. Liu, David Decker, Michael S. Tenner, William T. Couldwell, Bennie W. Chiles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: High-flow intracranial arteriovenous (AV) fistulas associated with giant varices are rare lesions. These varices can present with symptoms from mass effect, spontaneous hemorrhage, and seizures to cardiac failure. Direct AV fistulas of the posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) are extremely rare lesions, with only two cases reported in the literature. CASE DESCRIPTION: The authors present an unusual case of a 25-year-old male with a direct AV fistula of the PICA that resulted from a fracture of the occipital condyle. This high-flow AV fistula drained into a giant varix of the vein of the lateral recess that compressed the brainstem, resulting in a Wallenberg syndrome. The patient underwent embolization of the proximal PICA feeding the fistula with a Guglielmi detachable coil (GDC), which resulted in thrombosis of the varix. A postembolization angiogram showed occlusion of the PICA AV fistula and draining varix. A computed tomography (CT) scan performed at a 10-month follow-up visit showed dramatic decompression of the brainstem. Although the patient continued to have some sensory changes secondary to Wallenberg syndrome, he was otherwise doing well neurologically. CONCLUSION: The treatment of this lesion is difficult because of its location near the brainstem. Postocclusion edema or hemorrhage can result in mass effect and life-threatening brainstem compression. Our patient, whose AV fistula was caused by trauma, was treated effectively with GDC embolization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-260
Number of pages6
JournalSurgical Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


  • Arteriovenous fistula
  • Guglielmi detachable coil embolization
  • Posterior inferior cerebellar artery
  • Skull base fracture
  • Wallenberg syndrome


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