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Dural Arteriovenous Fistulae (DAVF)

Dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) are rare, abnormal connections between arteries and veins in the dura, the protective membrane covering the brain and spinal cord. These abnormal vessels divert blood from the normal paths. If the volume of diverted blood flow is large, tissue downstream may not receive an adequate blood and oxygen supply. DAVFs are part of a group of conditions called arteriovenous malformations.

An unusually heavy blood flow can lead to aneurysms (weakened spots in the blood vessel wall), which can rupture.

DAVFs can be caused by head trauma, infection, surgery or blood clots in the brain (thrombosis). Some people are born with DAVFs.

Some DAVFs are life threatening and may cause headaches, seizures or, if they rupture, strokes. Others are benign and go undetected until discovered during treatment for other conditions.

Our Approach to Dural Arteriovenous Fistulae

At UCSF, dural arteriovenous fistulas are diagnosed and treated by an expert team of neurologists, neurosurgeons and neuroradiologists. We offer the full range of treatments, including minimally invasive surgery to block blood flow to the DAVF and radiosurgery, a noninvasive procedure that uses a precisely targeted, high dose of radiation to destroy blood vessels feeding the DAVF.

Awards & recognition

  • usnews-neurology

    Among the top hospitals in the nation

  • usnews-neurology

    Best in California and No. 2 in the nation for neurology & neurosurgery

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.