JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Balloon-assisted coiling of the cavernous sinus to treat direct carotid cavernous fistula. A single center experience of 13 consecutive patients.

This study evaluated clinical and neuroradiological results in 13 consecutive patients with spontaneous and traumatic direct carotid cavernous fistulas treated at our center between January 2006 and September 2012. All patients were treated by coiling of the cavernous sinus. Coiling was always performed while a semi-compliant non-detachable balloon was temporarily inflated in the internal carotid artery. This technique (balloon-assisted coiling) permitted a clear visualization of the fistula, facilitated coil positioning and protected the patency of the artery. All patients' clinical data and radiological examinations were reviewed; nine patients underwent radiological and clinical follow-up, with a mean duration of 3.8 years (range: six months-six years). Overall results at discharge showed a complete occlusion of the fistula in seven patients (7/13, 54%) and a resolution of symptoms in eight patients (8/12, 67%). Radiological follow-up showed complete occlusion of the fistula in all patients (9/9, 100%) and clinical follow-up showed a resolution of symptoms in eight patients (8/9, 89%) and persistent symptoms in one (1/9, 11%). No procedure-related complications occurred. Balloon-assisted coiling of the cavernous sinus for the treatment of direct carotid cavernous fistulas proved an effective and safe technique, both in angiographic and clinical terms, and may be considered a technical improvement.

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