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The advantages of balloon assistance in endovascular embolization of spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas.

Endovascular embolization is accepted as an alternative to surgical management of spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVF) in most patients; however, when the feeder vessel arises from the trunk vessel with an acutely angled origin, microcatheter navigation may be difficult, hazardous, and sometimes impossible. We propose a technique that eases microguidewire engagement and microcatheterization of arteries that arise at very acute angles with the assistance of a parallel compliant balloon that acts as supporter, guider, and protector. This technique was successfully applied in three consecutive patients with spinal DAVF with unfavorable vascular anatomy that limited selective microcatheterization. The balloon supports and guides the microguidewire along the feeder (supportive role). The balloon can then be placed at the origin of the feeder vessel and inflated during embolization to prevent liquid agent reflux (protective role). Use of this technique as a first option reduces procedure time and radiation exposure. A limiting factor is the need for a relatively large working channel to allow the combined use of a balloon and a microcatheter.

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