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Study Finds that Surgical Treatment of Arteriovenous Fistulas Is Safe and Effective

August 28, 2010
A new Mayo Clinic study found that surgical treatment of spinal arteriovenous fistulas is safe and effective. Newer techniques like endovascular embolization have not yet been demonstrated to be as effective, and therefore must be studied further in order to be recommended over traditional surgery. This study was presented at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting in San Diego on May 5.

A spinal arteriovenous fistula is an abnormal tangle of blood vessels that develops near the base of a spinal nerve. These fistulas cause spinal tissue to be starved of normal amounts of oxygen, and therefore, cells begin to die. The fistula may rupture and cause a spinal hemorrhage. Symptoms vary greatly, but may include tingling, numbness or progressive weakness in lower extremities, burning pain and bladder problems. Spinal arteriovenous fistulas occur most often in men older than 40.

The study's lead author, Dr. Giuseppe Lanzino, M.D., a neurosurgeon at Mayo Clinic provides an overview.

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