Proposal of Venous Drainage-Based Classification System for Carotid Cavernous Fistulae With Validity Assessment in a Multicenter Cohort

Thomas AJ, Chua M, Fusco M, Ogilvy CS, Tubbs RS, Harrigan MR, Griessenauer CJ.Proposal of Venous Drainage-Based Classification System for Carotid Cavernous Fistulae With Validity Assessment in a Multicenter Cohort.Neurosurgery. 2015 Sep;77(3):380-5; discussion 385. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0000000000000829.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND:

Carotid cavernous fistulae (CCFs) are most commonly classified based on arterial supply. Symptomatology and treatment approach, however, are largely influenced by venous drainage.

OBJECTIVE:

To propose an updated classification system using venous drainage.

METHODS:

CCFs with posterior/inferior drainage only, posterior/inferior and anterior drainage, anterior drainage only, and retrograde drainage into cortical veins with/without other drainage channels were designated as types 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively. CCFs involving a direct connection between the internal carotid artery and cavernous sinus were designated as type 5. This system was retrospectively applied to 29 CCF patients.

RESULTS:

Our proposed classification was significantly associated with symptomatology (P < .001). Type 2 was significantly associated with coexisting ocular/orbital and cavernous symptoms only (P < .001), type 3 with ocular/orbital symptoms only (P < .01), and type 4 demonstrated cortical symptoms with/without ocular/orbital and cavernous symptoms (P < .01), respectively. There was a significant association of our classification system with the endovascular treatment approach (P < .001). Types 1 and 2 were significantly associated with endovascular treatment through the inferior petrosal sinus (P < .01). Type 3 was significantly associated with endovascular treatment through the ophthalmic vein (P < .01) and type 5 with transarterial approach (P < .01), respectively. Types 2 (27.6%) and 3 (34.5%) were most prevalent in this series, whereas type 1 was rare (6.9%), suggesting that some degree of thrombosis is present, with implications for spontaneous resolution. Type 2 CCFs demonstrated a trend toward partial resolution after endovascular treatment (P = .07).

CONCLUSION:

Our proposed classification system is easily applicable in clinical practice and demonstrates correlation with symptomatology, treatment approach, and outcome.