2020 - 5 Issue


Carotid-Cavernous Fistula from the Perspective of an Ophthalmologist. A Review

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Carotid-cavernous fistula (CCF) is an abnormal communication - vascular connection between arteries and veins in the cavernous sinus. Classification according to etiology is traumatic vs spontaneous. According to blood flow rate per high flow vs low flow fistula. According to anatomy of direct vs indirect: Direct (direct) CCF arises through direct communication between the internal carotid artery (ICA) and the cavernous sinus. Indirect CCF originates through indirect communication through the meningeal branches of ICA, external carotid artery and cavernous sinus (not directly with ICA) and Barrow type A, B, C, D division. Patient‘s subjective complaints depend on the type of CCF. Most often it is pulsating tinnitus, synchronous with blood pulse. Typical findings include protrusion and pulsation of the eyeball, corkscrew vessels - arterialization of conjunctival and episleral vessels, increased intraocular pressure, not responding to local antiglaucomatous therapy, keratopathy a lagophthalmo, corneal ulcers. In the later untreated stages of CCF, secondary, venous stasis or central retinal vein occlusion can occur. Diagnostic procedures include B-scan and color Doppler ultrasonography, digital ophthamodynamometry, computer tomography, nuclear magnetic resonance and digital subtraction angiography. CCF can simulate orbitopathy, conjunctivitis symptoms, carotid occlusion, scleritis or cavernous sinus thrombosis. The ophthalmologist should recognize and indicate the necessary examinations in a timely manner. The therapy is ophthalmological, neuroradiological, sterotactic, surgical and conservative.