Patients with cranial dural arteriovenous fistulas may benefit from expanded hypercoagulability and cancer screening

Sean P. Polster, Hussein A. Zeineddine, Joseph Baron, Seon Kyu Lee, Issam A. Awad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


OBJECTIVE Cranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) have been associated with dural sinus occlusion, and previous reports have suggested the association of hypercoagulability with some cases. But the prevalence of a hypercoagulable state has not been systematically analyzed in conjunction with laboratory markers and clinical manifestations, including history of thromboembolism or systemic malignancy. The authors hypothesize that laboratory or clinical evidence of a hypercoagulable state, including cancer, is commonly identifiable in consecutively identified patients with DAVFs, with implications for clinical management. METHODS The retrospective cohort study included all patients older than 17 years with cranial DAVFs diagnosed at University of Chicago Medicine during a 6-year period, whose medical records and imaging results were reviewed for objective laboratory or clinical evidence of a hypercoagulable state, including malignancy. Each case was analyzed for implications on clinical management. Data were analyzed in relation to a systematic review of the literature on this association. RESULTS Fifteen (88%) of 17 cases of DAVFs had laboratory (n = 8) or clinical evidence of a hypercoagulable state (thromboembolism [n = 8] or cancer [n = 6]). This hypercoagulability or cancer impacted clinical care in all 15 cases. CONCLUSIONS An underlying hypercoagulable state manifested by laboratory testing or clinically, including cancer, is staggeringly common. It is important to recognize this association, along with its impact on the management of the DAVFs and systemic diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)954-960
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes



  • cancer
  • coagulation
  • dural arteriovenous fistula
  • hypercoagulable condition
  • oncology
  • vascular disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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