Thoracic Dural Arteriovenous Fistula Presenting with Isolated Pseudobulbar Palsy Mimicking Brainstem Lesion

Keisuke Sasaki, Tomoo Inoue, Yasuo Nishijima, Takashi Inoue, Shinsuke Suzuki, Toshiki Endo, Masayuki Ezura, Hiroshi Uenohara, Teiji Tominaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) are usually associated with neurologic dysfunction adjacent to the shunt point; however, the symptoms are uncommon far from the site of the fistula. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a patient with rapidly progressive isolated pseudobulbar palsy because of thoracic DAVF. Case Description: We report a patient with thoracic DAVF presenting with remote symptoms of brainstem congestion. The patient was a 36-year-old man who presented with a sudden history of vomiting, dysphagia, and flaccid weakness in the 4 limbs. Intracranial magnetic resonance (MR) imaging at a local hospital demonstrated T2 signal hyperintensity within the medulla, and he was referred to our hospital for a suspected brainstem lesion. However, cervical MR imaging revealed a dilated and tortuous perimedullary venous plexus, and spinal angiography revealed DAVF in T5-6 with a feeding artery from the intercostal artery. After obliteration of the fistula, the progression of the disease was stopped and the symptoms improved. Conclusions: Although rare, thoracic DAVFs may present symptoms resembling brainstem infarction. Prompt surgical intervention is necessary for patients with thoracic DAVF presenting with rapidly progressive pseudobulbar palsy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-160
Number of pages4
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Apr


  • Dural arteriovenous fistula
  • Medulla
  • Pseudobulbar palsy
  • Thoracic spine


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