Imaging features and prognostic factors in fetal and postnatal torcular dural sinus malformations, part II: synthesis of the literature and patient management

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Torcular dural sinus malformations (tDSMs) are described as slow flow dural arteriovenous fistulae with frequently poor outcomes in the neuroangiographic literature, but other etiologies have been proposed in the obstetric literature, where outcomes have been more favorable.


To review tDSMs reported in the literature of multiple specialties for features that support a common etiology, and to identify key prognostic factors, with an emphasis on tDSM trajectory highlighted in part I.


Analysis of imaging features and clinical outcome for 77 prenatal and 22 postnatal tDSMs reported in 37 papers from the literature.


In addition to large venous lakes, 36% of prenatal and 96% of postnatal tDSMs had evidence of arterialization, where specifically assessed. For fetal cases, where there was an observable natural history, 97% underwent a spontaneous decrease—13% after an initial increase and only 1 case with subsequent enlargement after a decrease. Prenatal cases had 83% survival (62% with a favorable outcome) whereas postnatal cases had 59% survival (29% favorable). In addition to a postnatal diagnosis, unfavorable features included ventriculomegaly, parenchymal injury, arterialization, and need for intervention. Favorable features included decreasing tDSM size, presence of clot, and increasing clot percentage.


Neonatal and fetal tDSMs have overlapping imaging appearances, suggesting a common etiology, where neonatal tDSMs represent those rare fetal tDSMs that do not undergo spontaneous regression and have a propensity for worse outcomes. Decrease in tDSM size is a critical observation when managing a tDSM because it is generally irreversible and associated with a favorable outcome.

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