Pathomorphological description of the shunted portion of a filum terminale arteriovenous fistula

Mikinobu Takeuchi, Aichi Niwa, Naoki Matsuo, Masahiro Joko, Takahiro Nakura, Masahiro Aoyama, Toyoharu Yokoi, Masakazu Takayasu

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Background context The clinical morphology of a filum terminale arteriovenous fistula (f-AVF) is well known; however, pathological details of the fistulized portion are unknown. Herein, we report the pathological findings of the f-AVF. Study design Case report and literature review. Purpose To present a detailed pathological examination of the fistulized portion of the f-AVF. Methods A 71-year-old man presented with gradually worsening bilateral foot paresthesias and anal dysesthesia. T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging showed flow voids surrounding an edematous conus medullaris and cauda equina with spinal stenosis at L3-L4 and L4-L5. Spinal digital subtraction angiography demonstrated an f-AVF fed by the left T9 intercostal artery. Results We performed laminotomies of L3 and L4 to open the dura mater and found a hypertrophic filum terminale. It was resected, leaving a length of 2 cm between the abnormal proximal end and normal distal end. The f-AVF completely disappeared after the surgery. On pathological examination, the filum terminale included two vessels at the proximal end and one at the distal end. At the proximal end, immunostaining showed one vessel that was definitively an artery with both an internal elastic membrane (IEM) and smooth muscle. The other was a vein and lacked an IEM. On the distal side, the collagen fibers gradually increased, the IEM partially disappeared from the arterial wall, and the vein became arterialized with a thin IEM. At the distal end the two vessels joined. Therefore, we speculated that the fistulized portion of the f-AVF was not a fistula point but had some lengths where the artery had characteristics of a vein and there was venous arterialization. Conclusions The filum arteriovenous shunting occurred at the portion where there was venous arterialization and the artery had the characteristics of a vein. Therefore, resecting the filum terminale requires more proximal from the normal distal end.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e7
JournalSpine Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01-02-2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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